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" My meditation of him shall be sweet.' 

Psalm civ. 34. 


Nashville, Tenn. : Dallas, Tex. : 

Publishing House of the M. B. Church, South. 

Smith & Lamar, Agents. 


Copyright, 1902 


Bigham & Smith, Agents 

Just a Word. 

While shut in from bodily disability and shut out 
from the outside world, these meditations came unto 
me. They began with the one on the tuning of Eli- 
jah by the minstrel's playing for the touch of God, 
and ended, as the reader will see, with the joyful 
"Amen" of the Holy Spirit and the bride to the 
promise of the speedy coming of the Lord. My own 
soul was blessed by these Meditations. In the hope 
and with the prayer that they may bless other souls, 
they are printed. O. P. Fitzgerald. 

Nashville, 1902. 



In the opening verses of the Bible there is an in- 
timation of the sublime truth that everything in the 
universe of God, both physical and spiritual, is under 
law. " In the beginning God created the heaven and 
the earth. And the earth was without form, and 
void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. 
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the 
waters." When the Spirit of God moved upon the 
face of the waters, then came life and light, order and 
beauty. From the revolutions of a planetary system 
to the fall of a sparrow there is nothing capricious or 
arbitrary or fortuitous in the divine administration. 
This truth is the key that will unlock many mysteries 
in our study of God's ways in his dealings with us as 
revealed in his Word and known by our experience. 
In the chapters that follow it is hoped that the kind- 
ly reader will discern this truth as a golden thread 
running through the whole. And we will not forget 
that the Spirit of God is his own best interpreter. 




Tuning for God's Touch 1 1 

A Still, Small Voice 21 

The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax 27 

My Song in the Night ; 35 

Power from on High 41 

God Is No Respecter of Persons 57 

The Glory of These Last Days 61 

Our Infirmities Helped 73 

Songs in the Night 81 

The Holy Spirit as Intercessor 89 

Pass It On 93 

The Holy Spirit as Teacher 101 

Filled with the Holy Ghost 107 

The Temporal and the Eternal 113 

Grieving the Holy Spirit 119 

Glorying in Tribulations 127 

Try the Spirits 133 

In the Spirit on the Lord's Day 139 

Blessedness of Being Led by the Spirit 149 

Our Great High Priest 159 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory 165 

The Test 179 

Imperative Mood, Present Tense 191 


io Upper Room Meditations. 


Agreement with God 203 

We Know 219 

The Good Tree 223 

Beware 237 

Coming into Touch 243 

Calamities a Call to Repentance 253 

The Fifth Beatitude 267 

Certainty 277 

Paul's Paradox 283 

Abba, Father. 295 

Another Comforter 301 

The Good Fruit of the Good Tree 307 

The Keynote: " Come, Lord Jesus " 311 

Epilogue , 317 


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Elisha said: . . . Now bring me a minstrel. And 
it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand 
of the Lord came upon him." (z Kings iii. 14, 15.) 

Tuning for God's Touch. 

In a grave national crisis God looked for a man 
to lead his chosen people, but found none. This 
means that when God would inspire a man, there 
must be at hand a man to inspire. Natural gifts 
and antecedent preparation are factors in conjunc- 
tion with the touch of God. This is a law never 
disregarded, but varying in different cases in the 
methods of its operation. God reads men's hearts. 
He knows them as thev cannot know each other. 
He sees a hero where human judgment sees noth- 
ing of the sort beneath the mantle of modesty. 
He sees a scheming or cowardly braggart where 
men's duller vision perceives, or thinks it perceives, 
only what is assumed. God sees a saint where hu- 
man judgment discerns nothing beyond the dead 
level and routine of spiritual mediocrity; and he 
sees a hypocrite where men's duller senses discern 
only what is visible on the surface and hear only 
what the pretender claims for himself. The nat- 
ural and the supernatural are parts of one system, 
and work together without jar or confusion wher- 
ever and whenever brought in touch in the govern- 
ment of God, who is Lord of all. This correlation 
will be more and more clearly seen as the world 


14 Upper Room Meditations. 

moves on its course. And of one thing we may 
be sure — namely, that the unification of the two 
parts of God's creation will not result in the elim- 
ination of the supernatural, but in the lifting of the 
lower or natural higher and higher until in a sense 
diviner and more complete than we can now ap- 
prehend the kingdoms of this world shall become 
the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. 

Elisha was God's chosen prophet. He was the 
successor of Elijah, and had been trained under the 
eye and disciplined by the methods and molded 
under the influence of that mighty man of God. 
He was divinely accredited and providentially fur- 
nished for the solemn and weighty functions of his 
sacred office. The people wanted a message from 
God, who was ready to give it, and Elisha was to be 
the medium through whom it was to be declared. 
The people were waiting, and God was ready. But 
Elisha, his prophet, was not quiet enough to hear 
the voice of the Lord; the chords of his being were 
not tuned for the touch of God. With an intui- 
tion that meant genius, and perhaps something 
beyond, he called for a minstrel. He knew that 
such music as he called for had charms to soothe 
the troubled breast and prepare the expectant 
soul for the touch of God. The minstrel played 

Tuning for God's Touch. 15 

and the prophet listened with ear attent and heart 
lifted Godward. What was the nature of the in- 
strument played upon, what was the nature of the 
music he made, whether or not he also sang as he 
played, we are not told. The player was a min- 
strel, bless his tribe! It may be that he sang as 
he played one of the songs of Zion in the minor 
key; or in view of the impending battle, it may be 
that it was one of those martial airs that kindle 
the fires of valor in the patriot's soul. There is 
a law here — the law of correspondence between the 
body and the soul. The lachrymal glands, the 
risible muscles, the sentiments of love and of adora- 
tion, respond to the music that makes a channel 
of communication between body and spirit. Holy 
music makes a channel for the Holy Spirit. Sa- 
tan's music makes a channel for the arch deceiver. 
The perversion of this gift of music is in keeping 
with what meets our gaze everywhere in this pro- 
bationary sphere. 

It was not accidental that holy music is made 
a part of the worship of God in his Church. This 
is one of God's ways of opening a channel for the 
inflowing of the water of life to receptive worship- 
ers. The immediate disciples sang a hymn in 
preparation for Gethsemane and Cavalry nigh at 

16 Upper Room Meditations. 

hand; their successors through the ages have 
braced their souls to meet sorrow and pain and 
death by thus admonishing one another in psalms 
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace 
in their hearts to the Lord. Psalms, hymns, and 
spiritual songs — that means something more and 
better than an operatic solo or the strainings and 
squeakings of a mechanical quartette that knows 
how to sing by note but has never for one moment 
felt what it is to make melody in their hearts to 
the Lord. Moody and Sankey (the God-com- 
missioned evangelist and the sweet singer of Israel) 
preached and sang in our day in a way that made 
a channel for saving grace to many souls. The 
thought seems pertinent: to what extent was the 
great evangelist himself indebted to the gifted 
singer whose holy song tuned his soul for the touch 
of the Holy Ghost? The law for Elisha was the 
law for Moody. The Spirit that touched David 
touched Charles Wesley. The songs of Zion are 
the music to which her hosts keep step in their 
march to the promised time of her final triumph 
when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth 
as the waters cover the sea, and all the kingdoms 
of this world shall become the kingdoms of our 
Lord and of his Christ. The songs of the Salvation 

Tuning for God's Touch. 17 

Army, with the plain, true gospel they preach, are 
now making channels through which the water of 
life is carried to the perishing multitudes in our 
own and other lands. Keep up your singing and 
your marching, ye soldiers of Jesus Christ. Let 
your psalms and hymns roll forth from the mighty 
congregations in the thunder-swells of a holy en- 
thusiasm under the baptism of the Spirit of God. 
Sing your spiritual songs in the great congrega- 
tion on fit occasions, or in the little assemblies 
where two or three are gathered together in the 
name of the Master, or in the chamber of death 
where the dying saint may thus be greeted last by 
holy music expecting to meet it first in heaven. 
But let your spiritual songs be spiritual indeed — 
not doggerel ditties, nor namby-pamby jingles, 
nor the mere catch-words that intrude into sacred 
places too often in the name of spiritual songs. 

A memory: Before I had gotten into my teens, 
one night after getting into my bed in the upstairs 
room I heard my mother in a low, sweet voice 
singing a missionary sorig. It thrilled my boyish 
heart as I lay and listened, and gave me such an 
impression of the gladness of the gospel and of the 
peril of souls that have not heard its tidings of 
great joy as I had never felt before and have never 

1 8 Upper Room Meditations. 

lost, as I solemnly believe. The words of the song 
and the music of her voice are with me yet, and 
something more, let me say in all humility: the 
touch of God that was even then tuning my soul 
for the touch that was to be decisive at a later time. 
Another and later: Within the bounds of one of 
the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church, South, there had been a spirited and 
at times rather sharp controversy concerning the 
doctrine of holiness. This contention was carried 
on in the newspapers and elsewhere until it seemed 
to be an accepted fact that there were two oppos- 
ing parties among the brethren. It is at least cer- 
tain that some of them spoke as partisans, and 
even a dispute on holiness becomes unholy when 
a partisan spirit prevails. They were good men; 
but, like Paul and Barnabas, they differed, and the 
friction was felt and deplored by them all. Pend- 
ing an ordination service one day during the ses- 
sion, the writer of this chapter made a short talk 
magnifying the love which is the fruit of the Spirit 
and the essence of holiness, and concluded by pro- 
posing the singing of one of our sweet and deep- 
toned standard hymns defining in Bible language 
what holiness is, and the conditions of its attain- 
ment, and breathing a prayer for the blessing in 

Tuning for God's Touch. 19 

the present tense. A clear-voiced brother led the 
song; the brethren joined in the singing. A sort 
of awe fell upon them as the song proceeded stan- 
za after stanza, and it was evident that they prayed 
while they sang. The answer they sought came — 
not as a rushing, mighty wind filling the house, 
nor with visible tongues of flame, but in a baptism 
of love that made the place the house of God and 
the gate of heaven. A brother rose from his seat 
and, crossing over to where sat one with whom he 
had held a contention, offered him his hand; 
the next moment they were clasped in each other's 
arms. With rapt faces and wet eyes they sang on, 
the tide of spiritual power rising higher and high- 
er. It was the breath of the Lord, the baptism 
of the Holy Ghost; and the last vestige of party 
spirit was swept away then and there. The ordi- 
nation waited while the brethren glorified God and 
testified of his gift. Not an unkind or hasty word 
was heard during the remaining days of the Con- 
ference session. Years have elapsed since then, yet 
the blessing of that hour abides with some who 
were there. The melody then made in their hearts 
is with them still. They were then and there 
tuned for God's touch in answer to their need and 
their prayer, and it is to-day something more than 

20 Upper Room Meditations. 

a memory: it is a permanent acquisition to the 
treasures of their souls, a blessing of the Lord that 
maketh rich and addeth no sorrow therewith. 

To the soul whose attitude is right toward God 
everything becomes a channel of grace. To the 
responsive soul every touch of God prepares the 
way for another, and another, and another, in an 
endless series, with wider vision and higher inspira- 
tion. The grace that abides with him also abounds 
unto him. He that gives grace now will give glory 
hereafter. The apostle's thought and hope thus 
reached a climax in the closing words of the third 
chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians: 
"All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or 
Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things 
present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye 
are Christ's; and Christ is God's." This world in 
which God has placed us is the best possible world 
for his gracious purpose concerning us, conserv- 
ing our safety, promoting our upward progress 
here, and culminating in the endless blessedness of 
immortality brought to light in the gospel. 



"And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in 
the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." ( i Kings 
xix. 12.) 

A Still, Small Voice. 

This was God's usual way. He was not in the 
wind nor the earthquake nor the fire. He was 
passing by, and these phenomena of nature at- 
tested the immanence of the invisible God, by 
whom were all things created, that are in heaven 
and that are in earth, whether they be thrones or 
dominions, or principalities or powers, by whom 
and for whom all things were created, who is be- 
fore all things, and by whom all things consist. 
This tremendous exhibition of divine power ar- 
rested the prophet's attention, rebuked his petu- 
lance, and made him quiet enough to hear the 
voice of God that was to instruct him for the right 
performance of the duties of his arduous and ur- 
gent mission. 

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. The un- 
righteous man must forsake his thoughts, change 
his habitual temper of irreverence and indifference, 
before he can return unto the Lord and hear the 
still, small voice that assures him of mercy and 
pardon. The practical atheism that banishes from 
the mind the thought of God gets what it bargains 
for, and that which began as a foolish habit ends 


24 Upper Room Meditations. 

in a fatal collapse of spiritual capability. The dis- 
used talent is lost. The writer of the one hun- 
dred and nineteenth psalm, that rich mine of spir- 
itual wisdom, says: "I thought on my ways, and 
turned my feet unto thy testimonies." The prodi- 
gal son described in the gospel "came to himself 
before he started back to his father's house. To 
be able to hear God's still, small voice your thought 
must be turned toward him and your ear attent to 
catch his message. 

The petulant spirit of the prophet was rebuked 
and expelled before he was prepared to hear the 
still, small voice. In his heart a whining pessi- 
mism and subtle egotism mingled. It was a bad 
combination : it made him uncharitable toward his 
brethren and impatient toward God. His was a 
great, brave soul; but he was tired and sad and 
lonely, and his poor human nature needed the 
manifestation of the Almighty One before he could 
listen to the voice that spoke to his inner ear. 
Like Moses, Elijah had seen the fringes of the 
glory of God, and was thereby awed into adoration 
and awakened to responsiveness. 

Thus the prophet was made quiet enough to 
hear the still, small voice. This is God's way: the 
whirlwind, the earthquake, and the fire come to us 

A Still, Small Voice. 25 

in the commotions, calamities, and catastrophes 
of life in this world into which sin has brought dis- 
order and death. They make us pause, they com- 
pel us to think, they make us quiet before God, 
they prepare us to hear the voice to which our ears 
have hitherto been closed. To-day that voice 
speaks to you: harden not your hearts. He that 
hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

But you need not wait for the whirlwind, earth- 
quake, or fire. Perhaps you have already had the 
experiences which they might symbolize. The 
one thing needful is that you shall be quiet enough 
to hear the still, small voice. Whenever and wher- 
ever you are thus ready, you will hear the voice. 
God has not left himself without witness. Jesus 
Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every 
man. The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon 
all the world. Whosoever will may take of the 
water of life freely. To-day ought to be the day 
of salvation for you. Solitude is not the sole con- 
dition of stillness in the sense in which I am speak- 
ing of it here. In the day that you seek the Holy 
Spirit's presence with all your heart, you will find 
Him. The promise is unto us, and to our children, 
and to all that are afar off — the promise of the 

26 Upper Room Meditations. 

grace that shall tune the willing soul for the touch 
of God. 

The still, small voice spoke to John Wesley when 
he was reading the commentary of Martin Luther 
on the eighth chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Ro- 
man's. He tells us that he felt his heart "strange- 
ly warmed" as he read. He was tuned for the 
touch that he received, because he had, so to speak, 
entered into his closet and closed the door, shutting 
himself in with God, who is a Spirit and seeketh 
such to worship him as worship in spirit and in 

Wherever there is an inquiring and receptive 
soul there is an answering Voice. 



'A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax 
shall he not quench." (Isa. xlii. 3,) 

The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax. 

The pathos of this passage centers in the fact 
that it refers to the suffering Christ. He was 
wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for 
our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was 
upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. He 
was tempted in all points like as we are. He was 
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He 
was one of us, very man as well as very God. "It 
behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, 
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest 
in things pertaining to God, to make reconcilia- 
tion for the sins of the people. For in that he 
himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to 
succor them that are tempted." That is the way 
the holy apostle puts it in the closing verses of the 
second chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

Walk softly : we are on holy ground. 

Ah, yes! When this meditation was first in my 
mind, the foregoing paragraph was written. And 
then came weakness and pain and waiting. The 
bruised reed and smoking flax were in my thought, 
and the words seemed to hold for me a secret that 
could be learned in one way only — to follow where 

( 2 9) 

30 Upper Room Meditations. 

our merciful and faithful High Priest hath led the 

Christ was bruised for our iniquities. It pleased 
the Lord to bruise him, so that he might feel for 
the bruised. The feeble, the sorrowful, the sin- 
burdened, belong to this class. The reed is a frag- 
ile plant, easily "shaken with the wind," as St. 
Matthew puts it. The very weakness of a human 
soul commends that soul to the mighty Saviour, 
who came to seek and to save the lost. The sor- 
rows that are beyond the touch of human sympa- 
thy and help he can understand and heal. The 
burden of sin is lifted by him who is able to save to 
the uttermost all that come unto God by him. 

He not only did not quench the light of nature, 
but superadded the light of revelation in dealing 
with the human race — so a notable exegete re- 
minds us. The thought that comes here is that 
of the patience and long-suffering of God in his 
dealings with us. Smoking means dimly burning, 
smoldering; the flame is not quite extinct. The 
long-suffering of the Lord is salvation. The con- 
science, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, is supplied 
with grace as a lamp wick with oil. It is the light 
that lighteth every man that cometh into the 
world — this Spirit of the Lord, the light that shin- 

The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax. 31 

eth in the darkness as well as in the blaze of day, 
is as pervading in the spiritual sphere as is the air 
we breathe in the natural world. There is mys- 
tery here, but also certainty. "The wind bloweth 
where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound there- 
of, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither 
it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.'' 
Where, there is any measure of spiritual life and 
receptivity, everything that touches the soul be- 
comes a channel of grace. The holy apostle Paul 
saw this so clearly, and felt it so deeply, when he 
indited the closing words of the eighth chapter of 
his Epistle to the Romans, that we catch the sweet- 
ness of his joy and the swell of his triumph as we 
read : "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, 
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor 
things present, nor things to come, nor height, 
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to 
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ 
Jesus our Lord." He had already said (Rom. v. 
3, 4, 5): "We glory in tribulations also; knowing 
that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, 
experience; and experience, hope; and hope mak- 
eth not ashamed, because the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is 
given unto us." 

32 Upper Room Meditations. 

This secret of the Lord is with them that fear 
him. Some have been slow learners; but they have 
had line upon line, and precept upon precept, here 
a little and there a little. The golden links of 
providential purpose and gracious helpfulness have 
never been broken. Heavenly aspiration has been 
kept alive, religious purpose has never been wholly 
abandoned. The tunings for the touch of God 
have never ceased. 

Every touch of God tunes the soul for another 
touch. "The answer of the tongue, and the prepa- 
ration of the heart in man, are from the Lord" is 
an Old Testament affirmation, true to its core as 
it w$s meant to be taken. Its meaning may be 
more clearly seen if we read it in connection with 
what the apostle Paul says in the second chapter 
of his Epistle to the Philippians: "Work out your 
own salvation with fear and trembling: for it is 
God which worketh in you both to will and to do 
of his good pleasure." God works, and we work. 
All that we need is sincerity; that will cause us to 
keep trying, and that is the one and only condi-* 
tion of God's helping. For all the purposes of our 
Christian lives we are as strong as God is, however 
weak and unworthy in ourselves. The bruised 
reed does not break, the smoking flax is not 

The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax. 33 

quenched. The sacrifices of God are a broken 
spirit and a contrite heart. Not the self-righteous, 
but the self-emptied, are accepted of him. To 
will and to do are right in their place. To wait, 
and still to wait, when strength is gone, in pa- 
tience possessing our souls, pleases him no less. 

On a dark and stormy afternoon I went to see 
a suffering woman in a Nashville infirmary. I had 
a message for her from the Lord. On entering 
the room where she lay I saw that she was dying. 
She was in great agony and was gasping for breath, 
her wasted body convulsed every few moments 
with fresh pangs of sharpest pain. Her nerves 
were in such a state that even her mother's voice 
was almost a torture. Her husband held her thin 
hand in his in silent grief as she turned her dying 
eyes to look into his face. She was too far gone 
to be prayed with in the usual sense of the word. 
But the message I had brought for her was warm 
in my heart. I asked her if she could join in silent 
prayer, and she signified assent. Kneeling at her 
bedside, I prayed for two things: first, that the in- 
valid might be able just then and there to trust in 
the Lord Jesus Christ with all her heart; and sec- 
ondly, that it would please the Lord to give her then 
and there such a sense of his love as would satisfy 

34 Upper Room Meditations. 

her soul and comfort ours. A great stillness came 
upon the praying circle, and there was no sound 
or motion on the part of the sufferer on the bed. 
The blessing touched my own soul as I prayed, and 
at the last the words of supplication came from 
my lips audibly: "Blessed Lord, help thy daughter 
to trust thee with her whole heart. Blessed Lord, 
give her to feel at this moment a satisfying sense 
of thy love filling her soul.'" "Amen!" she said as 
we rose from our knees, and on her face was that 
light which reflected from our Immanuel's face 
which I have seen nowhere else except on the faces 
of the dying ones who die in the Lord. Her four 
months of bodily agony had not broken this 
bruised reed nor quenched the smoking flax. Her 
suffering had attuned her soul for this touch of 


"I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune 
with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search." 
(Psalm lxxvii. 6.) 

My Song in the Night. 

God gives us help by the remembrance of past 
mercies as well as by the promise of future bless- 
ings. All things are ours, and we are Christ's, and 
Christ is God's — so the apostle states the case. 

This seventy-seventh psalm might seem to have 
been written for the special profit of some high- 
strung, sensitive souls of this present generation. 
Asaph, its author, was so troubled that he could 
neither sleep nor talk. That scourge of our high- 
pressure civilization, sleeplessness, held him in its 
clutch. Nervous debility and mental depression 
possessed him — the one to a large degree insep- 
arable from the other. What did he do? He did 
not dose himself with nostrums after the manner 
of some in this our day. He did not talk much in 
the day of his trouble; his friends had troubles of 
their own, every one of them, and he spared them 
the dreary repetition of his symptoms. If there 
were doubt in his soul and clouds in his sky for the 
time being, he did not think it worth his while to 
inject his doubts into other minds or to becloud 
the souls of others who like himself were fighting 


38 Upper Room Meditations. 

hard battles of their own. A good thought came 
to him, and he acted on it at once: he meditated 
of God's work and talked of God's doings. Up 
there in that region he found broader vision and 
purer air. Too constant introspection will make 
morbidness in any soul. Another Old Testament 
singer and sufferer said in a season of trouble: "I 
will look to the hills from whence cometh my help. 
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heav- 
en and earth." Mounts Zion and Moriah, the sa- 
cred peaks, were in sight, and symbolized the pro- 
tection of Jehovah, who had recorded his name at 
Jerusalem. It is a curious saying of David in the 
thirty-second psalm: ''When I kept silence, my 
bones waxed old through my roaring all the day 
long." His heart and his thought had been turned 
from God, and both his soul and body were dis- 
tressed. The soul was made for God; cut off from 
him, it droops and withers. He went to God with 
confession of sin and found forgiveness, and then 
with peace in his soul he trusted in God's promises 
and his soul was filled with a great joy. It is not 
strange that he became demonstrative and horta- 
tory in closing the psalm: "Be glad in the Lord, 
and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye 
that are upright in heart." He called to remem- 

My Song in the Night. 39 

brance his song in the night, and therefore he felt 
glad and strong. Glad and strong — the power 
and the joy of an endless life are in the words. 

Many nights had he been kept sleepless from 
trouble; here he speaks of one night when he had 
been kept awake by joy, and had sung his song of 
praise to God. Whoever was the author of this 
Psalm, we may not doubt that he remembered 
many seasons of this sort. He could join in the 
song of another singer who said: "Bless the Lord, 
O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." He 
could not remember them all; they were more 
than could be remembered. He sang out his song, 
and therefore he did not lose the tune. 

Every man who deals sincerely with the Lord 
and with himself during a religious life that runs 
through a course of years will have cause to re- 
member some experience of this sort that stands 
out with special vividness in his consciousness. 

It came to me in a dream of the night. I had 
passed a day of severe physical suffering, and lay 
down for the night in the same condition. My 
sleep was fitful and burdened with the distressful 
images peculiar to persons afflicted with that com- 
prehensive ailment called nervous prostration, 
meaning nothing in particular to those who never 

40 Upper Room Meditations. 

had it, but the synonym of almost everything dis- 
tressing to its victims. Passing in rapid transition 
from one experience to another, after the manner 
of such dreamers, it came to pass that after a par- 
ticularly painful episode I was called on to lead in 
prayer in a little company present. Instantly, as 
it seemed to me, the substance of the prayer, and 
even the very wording of it, came to me as follows: 
"O Lord God, our heavenly Father, it is at this 
moment our uppermost thought that if we more 
frequently made our prayers the expression of 
thanksgiving, we would have much more for which 
we should be continually thankful. And, O Lord, 
when we think of all the mercies we have received 
from thee in the past, and all for which we hope 
in the never-ending future that stretches out be- 
fore us, we feel like beginning now a song of praise 
that will never cease. iVmen." Heaven came into 
my soul with that song in the night — and it is there 


"And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: 
but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued 
with power from on high." (Luke xxiv. 49.) 

Power from on High. 

In making this promise to his disciples Jesus 
answered a thought that was in their minds and a 
desire that was in their hearts. Power was what 
they wanted. But it was power of a different sort 
for a different purpose. Their minds were not yet 
free from the delusive expectation of a temporal 
Messiah. Their hearts were thrilling with the 
thought that the time had come when the yoke of 
Roman tyranny should be broken, and their hated 
oppressors driven from Israel's sacred soil. It is 
not altogether discreditable to these men that they 
clung so tenaciously to this hope. They were 
Jews; they were patriots; they were men of ardent 
temperament and strong conviction. They pos- 
sessed the qualities that, developed under the 
training of the Master, fitted them for a yet grand- 
er movement. They wanted power. This pas- 
sion for power somehow got into the human heart, 
and there it remains. When the archfiend tried 
to touch this chord in his final assault upon the 
Son of God he acted from a long study of human 
nature and an intimate acquaintance with the hu- 
man heart. The love of power is an indestructible 


44 Upper Room Meditations. 

element of the moral nature of man. The disci- 
ples wanted power, and the Master promised to 
give it to them. They did not understand the 
true meaning of the promise. He dealt patiently 
and tenderly with them, seeking to educate them 
for that kingdom in which service, not lordship, 
was the badge of honor. But they were slow 
learners. "Even the devils are subject unto us!" 
they exultingly exclaimed, returning after their 
first miracles in the joy and pride of conscious 
power. It was not so much that the suffering 
were relieved, that men were ready to hear their 
message, and that the kingdom of heaven was 
ope*ned unto them. Mark the gentle correction: 
"Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; 
but rather rejoice that your names are written in 
heaven." He read their hearts. He knew that 
the love of power such as they wanted made men 
selfish, exacting, and cruel. On another occasion 
he rebuked the whole body of the disciples for 
their unseemly contention as to who should be 
greatest in the coming kingdom. Setting a child in 
the midst, and then taking him in his arms, he said : 
" Whosoever shall receive one of such children in 
myname,receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive, 
me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me." The 

Power from on High. 45 

two brothers, James and John, went so far as to 
ask for themselves the two best places. They 
could not wait, but wanted to make sure in ad- 
vance, so that when the "appointments" were read 
out, they themselves would be provided for, let 
their brethren fare as they might. Shame on you, 
John! Shame on you, James! Yes, shame on you, 
shame on me, shame on us all; for we all stand on 
the same plane until lifted higher by a power not 
our own. The disciples were slow learners, but 
the Master gave them lesson upon lesson. By the 
parable of the talents he sought to give proper 
direction to their passion for power, telling them 
that fidelity in service would be rewarded by the 
bestowment of power for larger service. When 
he girded himself and washed their feet he was 
teaching them the same truth — namely, that he 
that would be greatest as God measures greatness 
must be servant of all. Though these lessons were 
not understood at the time they were given, they 
were not lost; they were seeds that in due time 
germinated. They did not understand the prom- 
ise that they were to be endued with power; but 
they believed in a vague and shadowy way, they 
clung to it, and obeyed the command to wait for 
its fulfillment. 

46 Upper Room Meditations. 

In wonder and hope the disciples waited. There 
is no record of what they thought and said during 
those ten days of alternating hope and fear, of 
yague conjecture, of subdued yet soul-thrilling ex- 
citement. All they knew was that a great move- 
ment was impending in which they were to be the 
chief actors, and for which they were to be endued 
with power from on high. They had no difficulty 
in their minds as to the source of this promised 
power. It was to be the power of the crucified 
and risen Christ. But in what manner would the 
fulfillment come? They waited. The days crept 
slowly by; each rising and setting sun was counted; 
their pulses beat more and still more quickly as 
they drew nearer and still nearer to the solution 
of the mystery. Their waiting prepared them for 
the fulfillment of the promise. It was a test and a 
proof of their fealty to their Lord. They all waited 
together. Judas had already apostatized and 
hanged himself, and there was now no traitor in 
the band. Calvary had melted and molded them, 
and henceforth they could not be divided. Sor- 
rowing, bewildered, expectant, they looked into 
each other's faces with sympathetic inquiry, and 
clung together like orphan children just from the 
grave of a buried mother. The half-forgotten 

Power from on High. 47 

words of Jesus were remembered by them, and be- 
gan to shape themselves into new meanings. In 
the shadow of the wondrous facts of the crucifix- 
ion, resurrection, and ascension a strange awe fell 
upon them, and, mingling with the carnal concep- 
tions and hopes that still clung to their minds were 
dim forecastings of higher things. They breathed 
the air of the supernatural, and they were chas- 
tened, ennobled, spritualized. Waiting for a man- 
ifestation from the unseen world, the voice of strife 
is hushed among them. They grew rapidly in 
moral stature during these days of waiting. Oth- 
ers have had to wait as they waited; and in the 
end discovered the great truth that no promise of 
God of this sort in the moral sphere can be fulfilled 
independently of the cooperation of the beneficia- 
ry. God is the same yesterday, to-day, and for- 
ever. His disposition toward his creatures has 
never changed, is incapable of change. Yet in his 
dealings with them he acts according to law. The 
free agency and consequent moral accountability 
of man are recognized in all his dealings with the 
human race. Therefore he can impart no more 
light than there is capacity to receive; he can give 
no more grace than man is ready to accept. We 
cannot fully understand these principles of the 

48 Upper Room Meditations. 

moral government of God, but we may rest as- 
sured that he is saving the world as rapidly as it 
can be done in conformity to the principles which 
pervade and uphold the moral universe. The liv- 
ing stream of truth is forever flowing, the heaven- 
ly light forever shines; but there must be a channel 
for the stream, an atmosphere for the refraction of 
the light. We are workers together with God in 
our own salvation and the salvation of others whom 
we can in any wise touch with any measure of in- 

The disciples waited together. It was a happy 
instinct that led them to do so. Had they sepa- 
rated, each one would have incurred greater dan- 
ger of despondency, doubt, and possible apostasy. 
Their united faith made a current strong enough 
to bear them onward. Outside influence was ex- 
cluded; no counter-current was met. They did 
what the Church should always do: they sunk all 
minor differences, waived all inferior and subordi- 
nate questions, while waiting for the fulfillment of 
the promise. They were ready because they had 
thus waited together in faith and hope. 

The fulfillment of the promise came thus when 
they were ready; it could not come sooner. There 
they were, all with one accord in one place, prayer- 

Power from on High. 49 

ful, expectant, attuned for the touch of God. The 
women were with them — "the women, and Mary 
the mother of Jesus, with his brethren." Hark! 
there is a sound in the upper air strangely thrilling; 
it comes nearer and still nearer, filling all the house 
where they were sitting. Awe-struck, ecstatic, 
they catch the breath of power, when lo! another 
wonder: "There appeared unto them cloven 
tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of 
them." It was the baptism of fire. "And they 
were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to 
speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them 
utterance." This was the fulfillment of the prom- 
ise. They were filled with the Holy Ghost, and 
under its touch they now thrilled with a touch 
never felt before. The power had come. The Pen- 
tecostal Dispensation was here! 

The characteristic feature of this Pentecostal 
Dispensation is described in that one word — power. 
Power, power, power! It has come, and it has 
come to stay. What sort of power? 

First, it is a power of illumination. Under the 
afflatus of the Pentecost Peter is no longer the 
same man he was before it came. Now he is illu- 
minated, incandescent — the same steel, but now 
all aglow with internal fire. The hidden meanings 

50 Upper Room Meditations. 


of the Old Testament Scriptures flash forth, re- 
called by the processes of memory under the touch 
of the Holy Spirit. The words of Jesus, recalled 
by the same power, become luminous as never be- 
fore. The dead letter of the word is quickened 
into life; the Holy Ghost translates the truth of 
the gospel; prophecy is interpreted, its symbols as- 
suming their proper significance; the facts of the 
gospel group themselves in right relation; its great 
fundamental principles stand forth in all their di- 
vine beauty and grandeur before the eyes that have 
been opened to see. The Pentecost is a fresh and 
perpetual revelation of Jesus Christ. Yea, it is a 
reincarnation of the Son of God in every believing 
heart. The Holy Spirit calls to remembrance the 
words of Jesus. He says to every believer what 
Jesus would say. The disciples now understood 
the promise that he would come to them again; 
he had, so to speak, turned himself into spirit, and 
poured himself into their souls. Now they saw 
the meaning of the remarkable words he had spo- 
ken unto them: "It is expedient for you that I go 
away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not 
come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto 
you." The Holy Spirit is the interpreter of the 
Word of God. The Spirit that dictated or inspired 

Power from on High. 51 

the writing of it inspires also the reading of it. 
This pentecostal illumination still continues, and 
will continue until the end. The best defense 
against misinterpretation of holy Scripture is the 
baptism of the Holy Ghost. The backslider in 
heart readily becomes a backslider in his belief. 
The faithful disciple of Jesus who lives a life of 
prayer and follows him as a faithful doer of his 
word is impervious to the suggestions of Satan 
and the perversions of truth offered by the error- 
ists who would take away the divinity of Christ 
and substitute empty forms and aesthetic dreamings 
for the blessed gospel of the Son of God in whom 
is the wisdom and power of the Godhead. The 
pentecostal baptism is the bulwark of the Church 
against false doctrines, heresies, and schisms. One 
genuine revival of Holy Ghost religion will do 
more to protect us and our children against the 
false doctrines that dilute and destroy their faith 
in the sublime and blessed verities of the gospel 
than libraries of polemical disputation or rivers of 
printer's ink poured out in newspaper controver- 
sy. The Spirit came to apply to us the redemp- 
tion purchased for us. This teaching goes deep. 
It means that Christianity is the orderly develop- 
ment of God's plan of salvation, according to 

52 Upper Room Meditations. 

which Jesus, the Apostle of our profession, must 
come to teach the truth in its completeness, and 
then the Holy Spirit is sent to apply the truth in 
all the varying experiences of the Christian life to 
the end of the world. "He shall take of mine, and 
show it unto you," said Jesus. The Holy Spirit 
makes no new disclosure of divine truth, but sim- 
ply shows us the things of Jesus Christ. All that 
Christ taught the Spirit reteaches. And listen! 
All that Christ's bodily presence could do for an 
individual believer the Holy Spirit can do for every 
believer on earth. This may be overwhelming to 
our thought, but it is a blessed fact in Christian ex- 
perience in these last days — the fact of the omni- 
presence of the Holy Spirit, everywhere at the 
same moment of time, and able to give every soul 
on earth a gracious touch whenever and wherever 
it may be needed. This truth fills the believing 
soul with a solemn joy, and fills this world with 
the glory of God. 

Next this power is the power of the Comforter. 
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter. Jesus fulfills 
his promise to his sorrowing disciples: "Where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I in the midst." And he fulfills to them 
that other promise: "I will not leave you comfort- 

Power from on High. 53 

less: I will come to you." He is our Comforter in 
the present tense, the same yesterday, to-day, and 
forever. Standing by the coffins or the graves of 
our dead, we feel the power of the Pentecost; not 
only have we the testimony of the immediate dis- 
ciples who were eyewitnesses of his resurrection, 
but the direct touch of the Holy Spirit, enabling 
us to feel and say: "We know Whom we have be- 
lieved." We know, we know, we know! There 
is a resurrection of the dead. There is a meeting 
place for the parted. Them that sleep in Jesus 
will God bring with him, and we shall be forever 
with the Lord and with each other. There is no 
provision for doubt in this gospel of the resurrec- 
tion to the believer who has felt this consciousness 
of the fulfillment of the promise of the Comforter. 
It soothes our heartache and saves us from heart- 
break in the presence of the tragedy and mystery 
of death. We have certainty here where we need 
it most, the conscious experience of the resurrec- 
tion power of the Son of God. 

The correlative of the power of illumination, of 
which something has already been said, is the 
power of utterance. The two go together. "What 
we have felt and seen with confidence we tell." 
Every recipient of the gracious power of the Holy 

54 Upper Room Meditations. 

Ghost shall become also a dispenser of it. "Your 
sons and your daughters shall prophesy" is the 
promise. Every true believer is a witness for 
Christ, a witness that he hath power on earth to 
forgive sins. God is no respecter of persons; sons 
and daughters, servants and handmaidens, all flesh 
shall see the salvation of God, from the least unto 
the greatest. This power of utterance marked 
the first pentecostal revival, and has marked every 
genuine revival that has since blessed the world. 
Those Spirit-baptized disciples witnessed in Jeru- 
salem and in Judea and unto the uttermost parts 
of the earth. And they are still at it. This en- 
dowment of power is a permanent endowment. 
Physical miracles may not be needed now; if they 
were needed, they would be given; God is limited 
in this regard only by his own holy will. The 
living Church is the standing miracle; a holy life 
is a stronger testimony than any other. The rais- 
ing of a soul dead in sins into spiritual life is the 
miracle of all miracles. The physical miracles are 
not needed when we have that which was symbol- 
ized by the rushing wind and the tongues of fire — 
illumination, comfort, utterance. O breath of the 
Lord, breathe on all thy disciples to-day, that they 
may feel a fresh enduement of power and take a 

Power from on High. 55 

fresh start as witnesses for Christ! — witnesses that 
he died and rose again; that he hath power on 
earth to forgive sins; that he hath conquered death 
and hell and is risen and reigns; witnesses that he 
is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto 
God by him; witnesses that his blood cleanseth 
from all sin in the present tense; that now is the 
day of salvation, salvation full and free. Yes, ev- 
ery recipient of this power must also be a dispenser 
of it. If we would not lose the tune, we must 
sing out our song. We quench the Spirit when we 
smother or silence the voice of testimony; we lose 
the gift of prophecy when we use it not. The old- 
time power will evoke the old-time testimony; the 
old-time joy will waken the old-time song of 
thanksgiving in our hearts. 

In this dispensation of the Holy Ghost all 
thought, imagination, desire, and hope are 
brought under his influence. These are the last, 
days when the Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, 
and whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord 
shall be saved. These last days are the best days. 
The best things are in the future, not in the past; 
the culmination of the power and glory of the gos- 
pel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the distinction of 
this age. The time hastens when every house 

$6 Upper Room Meditations. 

shall be a temple, every heart an altar, every land 
a holy land, every man a priest unto God, all earth 
hallowed ground. Let us take a fresh start. For- 
getting the things that are behind, and reaching 
forth to those things which are before, let us press 
forward. All the resources of the Godhead are at 
our command for the working out of our own sal- 
vation and for the evangelization of the world. 


"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I per- 
ceive that God is no respecter of persons." (Acts x. 34.) 

God Is No Respecter of Persons. 

That is to say, he is a just God, and in the long 
run gives every soul an equal chance. 

Cornelius lived up to the light he had, and got 
more light. 

Men and women who have the light of the gos- 
pel of Christ must live up to that light, if they 
would not have it withdrawn. They must walk 
in the light; this means that they must advance. 
They cannot stand still: they must go forward or 

Very many have very little light at the start. 
They are heavily handicapped by heredity and en- 
vironment. The best possible for them here seems 
to be poor indeed. But the Lord lives and reigns. 
Eternity stretches out before every soul that must 
give account t© God. That will suffice for un- 
raveling all tangles, righting all wrongs,, equali- 
zing all allotments in the sphere of moral agency 
according to the principles of righteousness. 

This is the long and the short of this whole mat- 
ter. It opens a door of boundless hope to every 
soul that trusts and tries where he is and as he is. 

Eternity will not be too long to praise God as 


60 God Is No Respecter of Persons. 

we ought for our creation under such a law with 
the possibility of such a destiny. 

The mystery of this scheme under which we live 
does not nullify the certainty of it. An epigram- 
matic sage has said that what we know of God 
now enables us to trust him for what we shall know 
hereafter. We get bewildered when we attempt a 
survey of the divine administration in the infinity 
and complexity of its parts. We are overwhelmed 
with the perception of the inequalities of human 
life and the awfulness of its ever-recurring trage- 
dies that raise in our minds questions too vast for 
our comprehension and touch our hearts with a 
pathos too deep for human speech. But when we 
feel God's attuning touch, and listen to his voice, 
we can serenely, if not joyfully, say with Job, the 
Old Testament witness, ''Though he slay me, yet 
will I trust him;" and in the innermost depths of 
our souls realize in all the preciousness of their 
meaning the words of Peter, the New Testament 
confessor, that "God is no respecter of persons." 
God is good: we believe it now, and will feel it for- 


"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And 
it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will 
pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your 
daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see 
visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my 
servants and on my handmaidens will I pour out in those 
8ays of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. . . . And 
it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name 
of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts ii. 16-21.) 

The Glory of These Last Days. 

Everything that God does is beautiful in its 
time. Every epoch of this world's history has had 
its special interest and attraction. To Adam and 
Eve the new world must have been fresh and sweet ; 
they quaffed the cup of life in its first sparkle and 
mantling beauty, when unfallen man had direct 
communion with God, and talked with him in the 
garden in the cool of the evening. To have lived 
in the patriarchal age, when angelic beings walked 
the earth and conversed with men in human speech, 
and tabernacled in human homes; to have followed 
the standard of Moses in the miraculous journey 
from the land of bondage to the land of promise; 
to have stood with Isaiah on the Mount of Vision 
and gazed on the sublime panorama of the unfold- 
ing glories of Immanuers kingdom; to have been 
a dweller on the earth when Jesus was here among 
men, witnessing the wonders he wrought, hearing 
the gracious words he spoke, realizing that in very 
truth God was manifest in the flesh — to have lived 
during any of these epochs in the history of the 
world would have been a blessed thing. But is it 


64 The Glory of These Last Days. 

not best of all to be living now, in these last days 
referred to in this text — that is, in the gospel dis- 
pensation inaugurated on the day of Pentecost? 
The distinction of these last days is that they bring 
the culmination of the power and glory of the 
gospel of the grace of God. These last days are 
the best days. 

This is emphatically the dispensation of the 
Holy Spirit. There was glory in the former dis- 
pensations, but there is a greater glory in this. In 
the third chapter of his Second Epistle to the Co- 
rinthians St. Paul makes this affirmation, exulting 
in the superior glory of these last days, declaring 
that ^converted souls, born of the Spirit, are his 
credentials or letters of credit as an apostle — more 
convincing and more glorious than all the wonders 
of Sinai. 

The universal diffusion of the Holy Spirit is the 
culmination of the wisdom and goodness of God 
in the present dispensation of the truth of the gos- 
pel of his grace. The prophecy is in these words: 
"And it shall come to pass afterwards [saith 
God], that I will pour out my Spirit upon all 
flesh." This makes every house a temple, every 
heart an altar, every man a priest unto God, every 
land a holy land, all earth hallowed ground. Let 

The Glory of These Last Days. 65 

us not look upon the dim and fading past, but at 
the living and blessed present, and consider what 
reason we have to be thankful to God for having 
cast our lot in these last days. 

There is now no monopoly of religious privilege. 
Former dispensations of truth and grace were nec- 
essarily restricted. In the order of divine provi- 
dence a channel had to be provided that the stream 
of the water of life might flow into all the earth. 
God's disposition toward his creatures has never 
changed, cannot change. He is the same yester- 
day, to-day, and forever. Yet he acts according 
to law, and the free agency and moral accounta- 
bility of man are recognized in all his dealings with 
the human race. Therefore he could impart no 
more light than there was capacity to receive, give 
no more grace than man was ready to accept. We 
cannot understand fully these principles of heav- 
enly truth and grace, but we may rest assured that 
God is saving this world as rapidly as it can be 
done in conformity with the moral laws which per- 
vade and uphold the moral universe. The living 
stream of truth is forever flowing; the heavenly 
light forever shines; but there must be a channel 
for the stream, an atmosphere for the refraction 
of the light. 


66 Upper Room Meditations. 

The bewildered disciples, sorrowing over the ap- 
proaching departure of Jesus, were comforted by 
the promise of the Spirit, even the Spirit of truth, 

that should abide with them forever. He told 
them that the outpouring of the Spirit was de- 
pendent upon his own ascension. Christ must as- 
cend before the Holy Spirit can descend. These 
are his words: "It is expedient for you that I go 
away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not 
come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him 
unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the 
world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.'' 
These weighty words, says a strong theologian, 
declare that the sending of the Spirit was a part of 
Christ's royalty as Mediator, and that it was not 
convenient that the Spirit should be sent till Christ 
was crowned and set down on his throne in his 
kingdom; "then the Spirit was to apply to us the 
redemption purchased for us." The teaching goes 
deeper than that. It means that Christianity is 
the orderly evolution of God's plan of redemption 
according to which Jesus, the Apostle of our pro- 
fession, must come to teach the truth in its com- 
pleteness, and then the Holy Spirit is sent to apply 
that truth to the human soul in all the varying ex- 
periences of the Christian life to the end of the 

The Glory of These Last Days. 67 

world. "He shall take of mine, and show it unto 
you," said Jesus. The Holy Spirit shows us the 
things of Jesus Christ. All that Jesus taught the 
Holy Spirit reteaches. All that Christ's bodily 
presence could do for an individual believer the 
Holy Spirit can do for every believer on earth. 
This is one of the glories of these latter days. It 
is overwhelming to our thought, but is a blessed 
fact in Christian experience in these last days — ■ 
the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit, everywhere 
at the same moment of time, and able to give every 
soul on earth a gracious touch whenever and wher- 
ever it may be needed. This truth fills this world 
with the glory of God, and floods the believing 
soul with a solemn and mighty joy whenever it is 
grasped by true faith in the present tense. 

Another affirmation or suggestion of this pas-* 
sage is, that every recipient of the gracious influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit shall become also a dispen- 
ser of it. "Your sons and your daughters shall 
prophesy," is the promise. Every true believer is 
a witness for Christ — a witness that he hath power 
on earth to forgive sins. God is no respecter of 
persons: sons and daughters, servants and hand- 
maidens, all flesh shall see the salvation of God, 
from the least unto the greatest. This character- 

68 Upper Room Meditations. 

istic marked the first pentecostal revival, and every 
genuine revival that has since blessed the world. 
Prophesying includes not only the preaching of 
the gospel from the pulpit, but witnessing for 
Christ everywhere and at all times by word and 
deed. Thus the believer lets his light shine. The 
Holy Spirit finds a channel wherever there is a 
mind to think, a heart to feel, and a will to choose. 
Thus this Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, ac- 
cording to the promise. 

Another suggestion of the text is, that the Holy 
Spirit is not capricious or arbitrary, does not work 
at random, but according to the laws of the human 
mincl. "Young men shall see visions; old men 
shall dream dreams." Youth is the season when 
the imagination is most active. The Holy Spirit 
rouses and exalts this faculty when the light of 
life's morning rests upon the shining hills. Ja- 
cob's vision of the mysterious ladder ascending up 
into the starry depths of the skies and the ascend- 
ing and descending angels came to him in his 
youth. In his old age the vision was not repeated, 
but in a dream of the night he was reminded of it; 
the memory of it still belonged to him, and at the 
touch of the Enchanter its inspiration came back 
to his soul. "I am the God of Bethel," said the 

The Glory of These Last Days. 69 

Lord to Jacob in his old age; that was enough. 
Again he was a young man, again he lay under the 
silent stars, again he heard the voice that then 
thrilled his soul — and his fears and doubts were 
gone. You have had your Bethels; I have had 
mine. Their blessing abides to this hour and will 
never be lost. The visions of youth are prophecies 
that shall find practical fulfillment for all who are 
true to the high and holy ideals that first ravish 
their souls under the touch of the Holy Spirit. 
Blessed are those elect souls that die young, leav- 
ing this world before the light fades from their 
sky, "whose eternal summer shall not fade." 
Around the names of the holy dead who die young 
lingers the light of everlasting youth. Sad, sad 
indeed are they who live to be haunted by the 
ghosts of their dead ideals, whose youthful visions 
of the true and the beautiful have been lost in false 
living, and to whom old age has brought neither 
holiness nor peace. A withered, hopeless old age 
is the saddest sight in this sad world. God save 
us from such a fate! If we live to be old, let us 
hope that then the quiet mirror of our minds may 
still retain and reflect the images of heavenly truth 
and coming glory in the day dreams of our wait- 
ing spirits and in the dreams of the still night 

jo Upper Room Meditations. 

when whispers are heard in the silence from the 
border land that divides the things that are seen 
and temporal from the things that are unseen and 
eternal. The teaching of the text is, that the ac- 
tive and soaring imagination of youth and the pas- 
sive and placid receptivity of age are alike im- 
pressed and controlled by the Holy Spirit. All 
thought, imagination, aspiration, desire, and hope 
may be brought under the guidance of God in 
these last days when his Spirit is poured out in 
prophetic fullness and power, and whosoever call- 
eth on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Je- 
sus Christ has turned himself into spirit and 
poured himself forth upon the world. There is a 
reincarnation of Jesus Christ in every believing 
soul on earth. Thus is fulfilled unto the Church 
his promise: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto 
the end of the world." And thus is fulfilled his 
promise: "Where two or three are gathered to- 
gether in my name, there am I in the midst." And 
thus again is fulfilled that precious promise to his 
sorrowing disciples : "I will not leave you comfort- 
less. I will come to you." That we have this In- 
tercessor, this great High Priest, is the glory of 
these last days, when the Spirit is poured out upon 
all flesh, speaking the word Jesus would speak, 

The Glory of These Last Days. 71 

giving the touch that he would give. He is here 
not only in the benefits of his atonement for sin, 
but in the benefit of his office as Intercessor, our 
perpetual Advocate in heaven. He has all the req- 
uisite qualifications for this work — merit, wisdom, 
power, sympathy. We have him in the present 
benefits of his priesthood, a Sacrifice always upon 
the altar. His intercession is as real now as it was 
in the days of his fleshly sojourn with us when he 
poured out his prayers, his tears, and his blood for 
us. He is our Great High Priest in the present 
tense, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. 
Therefore we will hold fast our profession. Do 
we want power? All power is given to him in 
heaven and earth, and none can pluck us out of his 
hand. Do we want wisdom? He is the wisdom 
of God, and our wisdom. Do we want sympathy? 
He was tempted in all points like as we are, and is 
therefore able to succor them that are tempted. 
Do we want a ready ear to hear our prayers? He 
fulfills his promise to be with his people always, 
even unto the end of the world. He can be with 
them all at once, hear them all, and redress the 
wants of all. Do we want infallibility? We find 
it in him, and nowhere else. Jesus Christ is the in- 
fallible Priest of every believing soul. We have 

72 Upper Room Meditations. 

him, and we want no other. We will hold fast our 
profession. You remember to-day that profes- 
sion, and the hour you made it — a profession of 
faith in Christ, a profession of love to his Person, 
of zeal for his cause, of devotion to his Church. 
Let us hold fast our profession. 


1 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we 
know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the 
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings 
which cannot be uttered." (Rom. viii. 26.) 

Our Infirmities Helped. 

This is the very word we wanted to hear, though 
its meaning may not be quite clear to us. It is 
said by many teachers in Israel that the manner of 
the Spirit's help is inexplicable. The mind stag- 
gers under the weight of the mighty truths af- 
firmed or suggested in this eighth chapter of the 
Epistle to the Romans, which might be called a 
Bible within a Bible. 

The immediate reference here is to help in 
prayer. First of all as to our infirmities is igno- 
rance of the nature of prayer. It is grounded upon 
the mediatorial office and work of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Other foundation can no man lay. He 
himself trod the path of prayer; both by precept 
and example he taught us how to pray while here 
in the flesh. The Holy Spirit, not limited by time 
or space, does for all his followers what Jesus did 
for those whom he touched while he walked among 
us as a man amongst men. He was in all points 
like as we are, sin excepted, and is therefore 
touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is 
the infallible High Priest of every believing soul, 
and is able to save unto the uttermost all that come 


j6 Upper Room Meditations. 

unto God by him. Our infirmities that make us 
need help in prayer — what are they? 

One of our infirmities is ignorance. Voluntary 
and blamable ignorance does not come under this 
head. Jesus said to his disciples: "Search the 
Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal 
life: and they are they which testify of me." And 
again he said to them: "The Comforter, which is 
the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my 
name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all 
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have 
said unto you." The Holy Spirit therefore can- 
not be expected to reveal Bible ,truth by direct in- 
spiration to one who has willfully shut his eyes 
from seeing that truth. Indifference is a noncon- 
ductor of this heavenly influence. But that the 
Holy Spirit does quicken and guide the processes 
of memory in bringing to remembrance the truths 
revealed in the Bible is a belief of many, and an ex- 
perience with not a few elect souls who have 
searched its pages with responsive souls. And it 
is no less true that the Holy Spirit helps to inter- 
pret, as well as: to remember, the word of life. He 
does not in either case supersede effort on the part 
of the believer; he helps those who are striving to 
know and to do the will of God. 

Our Infirmities Helped. 77 

Another infirmity is doubt. Doubt is an insid- 
ious leaven; a little of it will spoil any prayer into 
which it enters. Faith takes hold of the promise 
of God; doubt loosens and breaks its grasp. Doubt 
sometimes comes. in the garb of humility; the sense 
of unworthiness pressing upon the burdened soul 
so heavily that we forget for the time being that 
we are saved through grace, not by merit. But the 
Holy Spirit gives the soul the touch that reveals 
or revives the consciousness of the blessed fact that 
all the fitness Christ requireth is to feel our need 
of him. Sincerity is presupposed all along, at 
least such a measure of sincerity as clearly differ- 
entiates a struggling suppliant from a trifler or 
hypocrite. • 

Another infirmity is dullness. At times the 
spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. To 
pray with the spirit and with the understanding 
also seems hard at times. It-is a help just then to 
recall that word of the Lord in the Old Testament 
which has in it the tenderness and beauty of the 
New Testament spirit : "Like as a father pitieth his 
children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. 
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that 
we are dust." The Spirit quickeneth by touches 
that will be recalled with grateful hearts by many 

78 Upper Room Meditations. 

who out of their weakness have been made strong, 
and have been made to see light in his light. 

Another infirmity is lack of utterance — which is 
expressly mentioned in the Scripture which fur- 
nishes the motto for this chapter. At times we 
feel more than we express to our own satisfaction 
in our prayers. This fact the saints have felt, and 
the poets have sung all along. A sense of need, 
an earnest longing for a blessing from the Lord, is 
felt, but no specific utterance shapes itself in the 
soul of the suppliant before the throne of grace. 
The attitude of the soul is this: Thou knowest my 
needs, O Lord, better than I know them myself. 
Bless me as I need; bless me now. The answer 
comes — comes to the preacher in the pulpit in the 
touch that leads him and helps him to lead the 
congregation to pray as they ought for what the> 
need then and there. And the answer comes to 
the disciple in the place of secret prayer in a touch 
that opens all the channels of spiritual receptivity 
for the inflowing light and love of the Lord in the 
present tense. Under that touch we have desires 
and hopes too big for words; they take hold of 
God and eternity. These groanings, these yearn- 
ings of the soul for the best and the highest that 
God can give to his children, under the qualifying 

Our Infirmities Helped. 79 

grace and direction of the Holy Spirit, receive the 
answer that demonstrates that the will of God and 
the wants of his people are the same. It is no 
wonder, therefore, that the apostle said in this im- 
mediate connection: "We know that all things 
work together for good to them that love God." 
And so on to the end of that golden chapter that 
deals in certainties of ineffable preciousness to all 
who truly know the Lord — the certainty of sus- 
taining grace here, the certainty of unending glory 
hereafter. They know that Christ is in heaven 
preparing a place for them, and that the Holy Spir- 
it is here preparing them for the place. Faith 
stands leaning on His word of promise; the Holy 
Spirit gives the internal witness to their sonship, 
heirship, and coming glory. 

In the spring of the year 1902 I expected to go 
to London as a delegate to the Methodist Ecu- 
menical Conference then and there to be held. 
For special reasons I desired to make this which 
would have been my first visit to the Old World. 
I had looked forward to it with pleasant expectan- 
cy and with the hope of much benefit to both my 
soul and body. But difficulties intervened, and it 
became a question hard to settle as to whether I 
should attempt the voyage or abandon it alto- 

80 Upper Room Meditations. 

gether. I made the matter a subject of prayer, 
but the pros and cons continued to be so evenly 
balanced that for a time I could not see my way 
clear in either direction. One night while on my 
knees in prayer this suggestion presented itself to 
my mind with great force: What you need is not 
a solution of the question as to whether you shall 
go to the Ecumenical Conference, but the grace 
of submission to the will of God, whatever it may 
be. So my prayer was: "Lord, help me to say: 
'Thy will be done in this and all things.' " The 
answer and the blessing came. The touch I need- 
ed was given, and I humbly trust that from that 
hour the prayer that God's will may be done in me 
and by me has a new and more precious meaning 
to my soul. 



"But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth 
songs in the night ? " (Job xxxv. 10.) 

Songs in the Night. 

(Second Meditation.) 

We sing our own songs in the day time; the 
songs we sing in the night are given us by God. 
The word "night" means figuratively distress as 
here used; the song means the comfort God sends 
in his own wisest way. Goodness does not give 
exemption from distress in such a world as this; it 
comes to good men and women in many forms. 
These nights seem to be very dark and very long 
to some persons who find it hard to trust a God 
whose ways they cannot clearly trace. By the 
wisdom of the world they know not God, and from 
them he hides himself and to them utters no voice 
they can understand. But there are others who 
are more responsive to the voice of God that 
speaks through his providence to all who do not 
harden their hearts and close their ears. The un- 
tuned instrument responds to no touch of the mu- 
sician. The night, in this sense, is songless to the 
thoughtless and the prayerless and the thankless. 

Affliction brings darkness in the form of bodily 
sickness. The aggregate of distress of this sort 
in our world might make an archangel shudder, or 


84 Upper Room Meditations. 

an archfiend feel pity. Children born with bodily 
weakness and pain as their lot from the start; 
strong men that become crippled and maimed, and 
never afterwards know a well day; delicate women 
that fight a hard battle with unrelenting pain all 
their lives; aged ones who more and more find 
their strength failing and their physical infirmities 
heavier and harder to bear — all these know what is 
meant by the night of bodily affliction. To some 
of these comes the song in the night. An inner 
voice speaks to them of a world of unbroken har- 
monies where the inhabitant shall no more say, "I 
am sick," and their believing souls sing a song of 
joy that fills the night with the melody of heaven. 

Affliction brings darkness in the form of sorrow. 
It is but repeating a truism to say that capacity 
for sorrow measures rank in the scale of moral be- 
ing. The highest often suffer most. Every one 
who has had real sorrow feels as did Jeremiah when 
he made the challenge: "Behold, and see if there 
be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." The heart 
knoweth his own bitterness. The one sorrow that 
is hardest to bear may come suddenly or it may 
come slowly. "Anything but this, O God of mer- 
cy!" cries the smitten soul when the light of the 
eyes is taken away, the voice sweetest to hear si- 

Songs in the Night. 85 

lenced, the heart upon which it leaned stilled in 
death. Then comes the night, with the gloom that 
no earthly voice can cheer. But listen: through 
the darkness floats down the resurrection song: 
"I am the resurrection and the life: he that be- 
lieveth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he 
live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me 
shall never die." This song in the night of sorrow 
thrills the trusting soul with the powers of the 
world to come, and the song breaks forth in the 
triumphant strain: "Thanks be to God, which giv- 
eth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 
Most of all it is sin that brings darkness upon 
the soul. No one who has felt the pangs of real 
conviction for sin needs to be told that is so. The 
language of an Old Testament singer is strong: 
"The pains of hell gat hold upon me." The sin- 
fulness of sin he had seen and felt : he found deliv- 
erance, and his song, the one hundred and six- 
teenth psalm, is a song of thanksgiving. His pain 
was turned into joy by the touch of God's mercy, 
and his grateful heart prompted the resolve to 
take the cup of salvation and call upon the name 
of the Lord. The song that was given to him in 
that night of trouble is still sung in many lands, 
and its music makes glad many hearts that catch 

86 Upper Room Meditations. 


its melody as they read and pray. The same new 
song was put into his mouth that was given to the 
author of the fortieth psalm, even praise unto our 
God. And the invariable result followed. Other 
souls felt the gracious touch, took up the song, 
and passed on the blessing. 

Into most lives there come many seasons of af- 
fliction — nights of darkness — and to trusting souls 
are given again and again songs of deliverance. 
To some are given a special experience of this sort 
that stands out from the rest in their recollection 
—one song in the night which they remember with 
a joy that is deep and holy. One such recollec- 
tion comes to me here. It is now more than forty 
years ago that I left my office in San Francisco 
about sunset and started homeward; but, going 
back for something forgotten by me, I found a 
young man whom I had left there bent above a 
table with his face in his hands sobbing bitterly. 
"What is your trouble?" I asked. "I can't tell 
you," he answered without lifting his head, his 
frame shuddering as he spoke. I did not intrude 
further upon his privacy, but left him bowed in the 
same position. After supper I could not keep him 
out of my mind; his image kept rising before me 
as I left him there wrestling with his trouble. 

Songs in the Night. 87 

Yielding to an impulse that came upon me strong- 
ly, I put on my hat and sought him again. Climb- 
ing the staircase, I pushed open the door of the of- 
fice, and there he sat with bowed head and face 
hidden just as I had left him. Our interview need 
not be recited in detail. I told him that I had no 
wish to invade the privacies of his life, or to in- 
trude upon him my presence or my counsels; but 
that I had sought him in obedience to a sympa- 
thetic impulse that I could not repress, and had 
brought him a message from the all-pitying Christ, 
whose minister I was. He listened in silence, not 
lifting his head. "Shall we pray together?" I 
asked. He sank upon his knees, and I knelt by his 
side and offered the prayer that was in my heart 
for the burdened soul whose sorrow only One 
could know and heal. The answer came, and 
somehow when it touched my own heart I knew 
that it had also touched him. When we rose from 
our knees by the bright moonlight that streamed 
through the window into the room on his face was 
the serenity that showed that the peace of God 
had come into his soul. We pressed each other's 
hands and parted. As I climbed the Pine Street 
hill I had given me a song in the night that has to 
this hour strengthened my faith in the pitying 

88 Upper Room Meditations. 

Christ and makes me feel as I pen these words 
(March 25, 1902) that I would be glad to sing out 
the song with my latest breath. 

Sing out your song in the night. Let it be a 
song of thanksgiving — thanksgiving for truth re- 
vealed, thanksgiving for the touch that imparts 
conscious comfort in the present tense, thanksgiv- 
ing for the promise of the unmixed blessedness and 
undimmed glory that will come when this mortal 
shall have put on immortality. 

If you would not lose the tune, sing out your 
song in the night. The daybreak is not far off 
for you. 


We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but 
the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings 
which cannot be uttered." (Rom. viii. 26.) 

The Holy Spirit as Intercessor. 

The lesson in this twenty-sixth verse of the 
eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is 
this: Absolute sincerity insures success in every 
approach we make to the throne of grace. 

At times we are conscious of so many needs that 
we cannot tell where to begin. We cannot tell 
which is most urgent. Our minds are confused, 
and our faith lays hold of nothing in particular. 

Then at other times, though we may have a 
definite sense of our needs, we cannot pray as we 
ought. The infirmities of the flesh weigh us down. 
Our thoughts wander. We cannot, it seems, com- 
mand the conditions of successful prayer. And 
yet we try to pray — and that is a blessed thing. 
That is the one thing that puts us on the right 
path. The praying attitude of the soul is indis- 
pensable. Without this, any talk of prayer is idle; 
with it, the needy soul and the gracious God are 
brought into touch. 

The declaration that the Spirit himself maketh 
intercession must mean — so I feel as I write the 
words — that he helps us to see our needs when we 


92 Upper Room Meditations. 

tarry in the secret place and wait for his touch. 
God works in us to will and to do — so he tells us. 
In the place where we pray, above all other places, 
we would be readiest to receive the touch that 
would make known his will, and impart the will- 
ingness to do it. 

But this Scripture goes deeper still. The Spirit 
maketh intercession for us literally, saying for us 
what we cannot say for ourselves, interpreting our 
wants to our merciful- Heavenly Father, the prayer- 
hearing and prayer-answering God. The Spirit 
sees clearly where our vision is dim. The Spirit 
speaks clearly where our language fails. The 
groanings that cannot be uttered by us the Spirit 
voices in the ear of God. A sense of need is the 
one condition of prevailing intercession. Joseph 
Hart sings the song which has found a response in 
innumerable souls: 

Let not conscience make you linger, 

Nor of fitness fondly dream ; 
All the fitness he requireth 

Is to feel your need of him : 
This he gives you; 

"Pis the Spirit's glimm'ring beam. 

There it is for you: A sense of need in your soul 
at one end of the chain, and the fullness of Him in 
whom all fullness dwells at the other — with no 
break in the connection. 


Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who 
comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able 
to comfort them which are in trouble, by the comfort 
wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (2 Cor. 

i-V 4-) 

Pass It On. 

That is the law of the Christian life. Every re- 
cipient of the grace of God becomes a dispenser of 
the same. Every soul that has received comfort 
in trouble is made a channel through which that 
comfort flows to other souls. Of course we are 
speaking of the comfort that comes from God, who 
is the Giver of all comfort that is true and abiding. 
He is the Father of all mercies, the Giver of every 
good and perfect gift. This none of us will deny. 
But do we feel it? If so, our souls will kindle into 
a flame of holy joy, and we will join in the grateful 
song of the apostle: "Blessed be God, even the 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the God of 
all comfort." We know whom we have believed, 
"Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, ex- 
perience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh 
not ashamed; because the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is 
given unto us." That is the way it works. 

We can give only what we have received. We 
cannot give more than we have received. The 
comfort that comes to us in our tribulation is im- 


96 Upper Room Meditations. 

parted for this very end. On any basis other than 
this comfort so-called is more or less perfunctory. 
It is child's play mostly. The pitying Christ knows 
our frames and remembers that we are dust. He 
is therefore a merciful High Priest in things per- 
taining to God. Through him we have access to the 
God of all comfort, the fountain whence flows that 
river of God that is full and free for whosoever will 
come and drink. He is able to comfort them which 
are in any trouble. That is a sweeping declara- 
tion. There are many sorts of trouble in this world. 
Good men and women are not exempt; all are 
partakers. Chastening is the badge of true dis- 
cipleship, as the apostle says in the sixth chapter 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Read and ponder. 
Trouble comes in many ways, and there is com- 
fort for all. Trouble comes to many in the form 
of bodily pain and weakness. The apostle Paul 
himself had his thorn in the flesh. He prayed for 
its removal; he did not get ease from his pain. He 
got what was better — comfort. He prayed three 
times for the removal of his thorn in the flesh ; the 
answer came in the bestowment of a fuller meas- 
ure of grace that caused the power of Christ to 
rest upon him as never before. His strength was 
made perfect in weakness. This is his testimony. 

Pass It On. 97 

How many sufferers have been comforted by it 
will never be known until this mortal shall have 
put on immortality. 

Trouble comes to many in the form of poverty. 
It is well enough for those who never knew what 
poverty is, to make light of it; but it is a real 
trouble in itself, with its privations, humiliations, 
and discomforts. Intelligent sympathy with this 
form of trouble is possible only to those who have 
known what it is to be poor. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ came down to this plane: though he was 
rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that 
through his poverty we might be made rich. He 
had not where to lay his head. The knowledge 
of this fact brings him close to the poor and needy, 
and makes a channel for his grace to flow into hu- 
man hearts, which in their turn make channels for 
that grace to flow on to comfort other hearts from 
age to age. 

Trouble comes through loss of friends — not very 
often, I think, for true friendship is hard to be 
moved — but most persons of keen sensibilities who 
live long in this world have known something of 
this trouble. Ah, this is a trouble indeed! It 
brings a sense of loneliness to the soul. The Mas- 
ter drank of this cup, and the servant is not above 

98 Upper Room Meditations. 

his Lord. The immediate touch of the Friend 
that sticketh closer than a brother reassures the 
wounded spirit, and thus disposes the troubled soul 
to hold on to him, and to comfort by undoubting 
testimony and sympathy warm from the heart of 
Christ other hearts that are hungry for the true 
friendship for which we were made and by which 
we are blessed. 

Trouble comes to many in the form of doubt. 
The greatest and best of God's servants have had 
their seasons of doubt and consequent desponden- 
cy. In such a mood David sang his songs in the 
minor key, and the apostle Paul feared that after 
all he might be a castaway. But they got the vic- 
tory of faith; David sang his song of triumph, and 
Paul bore his testimony to the efficacy of the grace 
that abides and abounds. Multitudes who have 
had this same trouble from doubt have found the 
same comfort, and have joined in the song of vic- 
tory, passing on to others the comfort wherewith 
they themselves have been comforted. 

Trouble comes in the form of bereavement. 
Death has its sting and the grave its victory on 
the plane of nature as we find it in all lands and 
among all races of men. To the believing soul 
comfort comes through the indubitable proofs of 

Pass It On. 99 

the fact of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus 
Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit with 
our spirits that we have a risen and reigning Sav- 
iour. We feel what St. John felt when he said; 
"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the 
witness in himself." We know that our Redeem- 
er lives. What we thus feel and see we tell, com- 
forting others with the comfort wherewith we our- 
selves have been comforted. Tuned for this touch, 
it came when we were ready for it; from us others 
will be tuned therefor in their turn. 

The* running stream refreshes the trees and the 
flowers. The stagnant pond breeds malaria and 
death. This law of the Christian life lies at the 
basis of the religious experience that is truest and 
deepest, and inspires the religious activity that is 
holiest and heartiest. Freely receive, freely give 
— that is the law of the Lord written on the re- 
newed soul by the Holy Ghost. Obedience to 
this law will fill the earth with the glory of God 
and bring to the joys of heaven the great multi- 
tudes that no man can number out of every kin- 
dred, tongue, and tribe. 

The fulfillment of the promise of grace now to 
help in time of need gives assurance that there 
will be no failure of the promise of the glory that 

ioo Upper Room Meditations. 

is to be revealed hereafter. We have now the 
earnest of the Spirit — that is, present grace is a 
pledge of future glory. "The indwelling of God 
the Holy Spirit is the common mark of all believ- 
ers in Christ. It is the Shepherd's mark of the 
flock of the Lord Jesus, distinguishing them from 
the rest of the world. It is the goldsmith's stamp 
on the genuine sons of God, which separates them 
from the dross and mass of false professors. It is 
the King's own seal on those who are his peculiar 
people, proving them to be his own property. It 
is the earnest which the Redeemer gives to his be- 
lieving disciples, while they are in the body, as a 
pledge of the full redemption yet to come on the 
resurrection morning. This is the case of all be- 
lievers. They all have the Spirit." (Ryle.) 

These words from an old divine may close this 
Meditation: "The Holy Ghost is always present 
in the word of the Scripture, and speaks in it equal- 
ly and alike to the Church in all ages. He doth 
in it speak as immediately to us as if we were the 
first and only persons to whom he spake." 


; But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the 
Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, 
and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I 
have said unto you." (John xiv. 26.) 

The Holy Spirit as Teacher. 

This is one of the deep things of God that are 
found in this fourteenth chapter of the Gospel by 
St. John. The personality of the Holy Spirit is 
affirmed beyond question. He "teaches," "re- 
minds," "testifies," "comes," "convinces," "guides," 
"speaks," "hears," "prophesies" — expressions that 
can be applied only to a personal agent. 

The Holy Spirit utilizes the processes of mem- 
ory in the communication of heavenly truth and 
in the promotion of growth in grace. With re- 
gard to the apostles themselves his office was two- 
fold: first, to recall the very words of Jesus; sec- 
ondly, to interpret their meaning truly. Nothing 
less could be expected of a revelation that was di- 
vine; nothing more could be desired as to its certi- 
tude and completeness. The Holy Spirit could 
as effectually guard against mistake in transcrip- 
tion of the truth as Jesus himself could guard 
against error in the original utterance of it. This 
has been the belief of the wisest and holiest in the 
past; it will be the consensus of the whole Church 
in the good time coming. "Lo, I am with you al- 
way," said Jesus. He who reads this gospel under- 

( IC >3) 

104 Upper Room Meditations. 


standingly, applying it as he reads, feels a mighty 
joy within his heart in the consciousness of the in- 
dwelling, ever-present Christ. 

With no desire to be wise above what is written, 
nor to strain the meaning of this scripture, it seems 
to me that a wider scope may be given to it in its 
application to the whole Church in all ages. There 
is an inner register in every soul whereon is re- 
corded all the deeds done in the body which are to 
be met and faced in the final judgment. That is 
the book of life which will then be opened. The 
memory keeps all it gets. There is a special satis- 
faction in the thought that every acquisition of 
heavenly knowledge is imperishable in a believing 
soul. Nothing is lost. The word of the Lord is 
quick and powerful, though it may lie for a season 
"like a slumbering germ in the mind," as Olshau- 
sen expresses it. Fanaticism and unbelief are 
equally to be avoided here. That excitable and 
weak-minded men and women do mistake their 
own dreams and vagaries for the teaching of the 
Lord, cannot be denied. That holy men and wom- 
en who, in sweet humility and sincere trustfulness, 
look to the Lord for light and strength through 
his word do find what they thus seek, may be af- 
firmed on the testimony of the great cloud of wit- 

The Holy Spirit as Teacher. 105 

nesses who have walked by faith, from Enoch, who 
was translated without seeing death, to the lowliest 
living saint who walks by the same rule, making 
the Word of the Lord a light to his path and a 
lamp to his feet. We will not narrow the mean- 
ing of the words of Jesus: "Every scribe which is 
instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto 
a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth 
out of his treasure things new and old." The same 
old, unchanging, ever-glorious truths of the gospel 
may be presented in new forms, aspects, and appli- 
cations, with illustrations as new and various as are 
the conditions of the souls of men in this ever- 
changing world. The reverent student of the 
Word of God attunes himself to His touch in its in- 
terpretation to his mind and in its application to 
his life. 

There was a Christian family in which each mem- 
ber in turn recited or read a passage from the Bible 
as the basis of the worship at evening prayer. On 
one occasion the expected quotation was not forth- 
coming because of forgetfulness on the part of the 
one whose turn had come that evening. The con- 
versation of the family circle had been directed to 
the painful and critical sickness of a lovely girl in a 
near neighbor's family. The head of the family 

io6 Upper Room Meditations. 

thought of the twenty-third Psalm, whose verbiage 
was familiar to every member of the household. 
By request it was recited by one of the children, 
and was then made the basis of a prayer for the 
blessing of the Lord upon the fair young sufferer. 
The language of the Psalm as it was repeated by 
the leader in the prayer seemed to take on new 
meanings and a diviner sweetness, and from the 
youngest boy to the silver-haired grandfather who 
led the family devotions that night it might seem 
that that sacred song had been written for their 
use then and there. It is at least certain that the 
memorizing of it by them all had tuned each one 
foF the heavenly touch it brought. 


They were all filled with the Holy Ghost." (Acts ii. 4.) 

Filled with the Holy Ghost. 

This is not merely the record of a past wonder. 
It is the indication of the potency of the force that 
sustains the New Testament Church in all its his- 
tory. It is also an object lesson and a pattern for 
the New Testament Church in all ages unto the 
end. These pentecostal wonders show the scale 
upon which the evangelization of the world might 
be carried forward by the New Testament Church 
filled with the Holy Ghost. 

They were all filled with the Holy Ghost. They 
had all waited for the fulfillment of the promise 
from the gracious Lord, who is no respecter of per- 
sons. They were all in their places, and were at- 
tuned for the touch. They knew not what would 
be the mode of manifestation nor the resulting sub- 
jective experiences. They waited on the Lord and 
trusted him with all their hearts, and that was 
enough. The promise was fulfilled in his own best 
way and time. They were all filled. There were no 
absentees nor doubters, and so none failed to get 
the blessing. 

The filling did not make them equal in capacity. 

Nor did it abolish temperamental differences. Di- 


no Upper Room Meditations. 

versities of gifts were to be imparted then and con- 
tinued; but the same Spirit was to be always in all. 
They were all filled, but not one lost his or her 
individuality. The Holy Ghost works with, not 
against, constitutional characteristics and provi- 
dential adaptations. He gives to native eloquence 
a heavenly unction. He gives the musician a 
sweeter and deeper tone, but I know of no case 
where this baptism literally made the dumb to 
speak or the deaf to hear, or gave tune to the 

As they were all rilled with the Holy Ghost, it is 
certain there was then no room in their hearts for 
anything that was unholy. Filled is a large word; 
it means "filled." It means now just what it 
meant then. There was then no contention among 
the disciples as to who should be greatest in the 
kingdom of Christ; there was no room for that 
sort of thing in hearts that were really filled with 
the Holy Ghost. This was the crowning blessing 
of the New Testament dispensation. The recip- 
ients did not dispute about it. They called it the 
baptism of the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced with joy 
unspeakable in the consciousness that it had come 
to them and filled them with its presence and 

Filled with the Holy Ghost. in 

This blessing of the baptism of the Holy Ghost 
with which they were filled was not meant to be 
transient. Nor as to individuals was it necessarily 
permanent. Moral freedom and responsibility are 
never lost in this life here on earth. Probation ends 
only when life ends here. But neither is it a true 
view of this subject which assumes that, after hav- 
ing been filled with the Holy Ghost, it is necessary 
that the believer must go back to the beggarly 
elements of the world. There is gracious encour- 
agement as well as faithful and solemn warning in 
the apostolic injunction: "Grieve not the Holy 
Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day 
of redemption." And when the heavenly voice 
says unto us, "Quench not the Spirit," it means 
that the holy flame may be so fed and guarded that 
it may be kept burning forever. Thus we see that 
that which is a solemn warning is also a gracious 
encouragement. Declension and falling may be 
possible on the one hand where there is carelessness 
or presumption. On the other hand steadfastness 
and watchfulness guarantee steadfastness and final 

"It is as if you saw a locomotive engine upon a 
railway, and it would not go; and they put up a 
driver, and they said: 'Now, that driver will just 

H2 Upper Room Meditations. 

do/ They try one and another. One proposes that 
such and such a wheel should be altered, but still it 
will not go. Some one then bursts in among 
those who are conversing, and says: 'No, friends; 
but the reason why it will not go is because there is 
no steam. You have no fire ; you have no water in 
the boiler; that is why it will not go. There may 
be some faults about it, but it will go well enough 
with all these faults if you do but get the steam up/ 
But now people are saying: This must be altered, 
and that must be altered/ But it would go no bet- 
ter unless God the Spirit should come to bless us. 
That is the Church's great want; and until that 
want be supplied, we may reform and reform, and 
still be just the same. We want the Holy Spirit; 
and then, whatever faults there may be in our or- 
ganization, they can never materially impede the 
progress of Christianity when once the Spirit of the 
Lord God is in our midst." (Spurgeon.) 



c For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, work- 
eth for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. ' ' 
(2 Cor. iv. 17.) 

The Temporal and the Eternal. 

Light afflictions indeed ! Who calls them light ? 
Surely not one of the scathed and crippled suffer- 
ers who know what real affliction is in this world 
of sin and pain and death. Sin, pain, death — they 
have made human history one long tragedy run- 
ning on from age to age. Under the reign of sin 
the whole creation has groaned and travailed to^ 
gether in pain until now — this was a true saying 
when it was spoken by St. Paul, and it is true this 
day. These afflictions can be regarded as light in 
only one particular — in their duration. In the 
twelfth chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews the 
holy apostle himself says, "No chastening for the 
present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous," and 
he knew whereof he affirmed. The optimistic 
touch follows in close connection in the declara- 
tion that "nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the 
peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which 
are exercised thereby." The keynote of this song 
is in that word— afterwards . The philosophy of 
the utterance at the head of this chapter is in that 
word. The transient now, the eternal afterwards — 
he places them in contrast, and as he weighs them 


n6 Upper Room Meditations. 

his vision becomes clearer and his soul takes fire. 
He saw how it came to pass that the momentary 
afflictions worketh out the gracious, glorious re- 
sults, the thought of which excited within his be- 
lieving soul a joy too deep for words. The foun- 
dation of God standeth sure; not one jot or tittle 
of his word of promise can fall to the ground. This 
and that—look at them the one over against the 

When he was sick, he thought of that land whose 
inhabitant shall not say, "I am sick," as seen in 
vision by Isaiah, and he quickened his pace for 
that far country where he should catch the breath 
of fche eternal morning. 

When he was in prison he thought of the prom- 
ise that he should be forever with his Lord where 
he should enjoy the freedom of the universe 
through the sweep of the eternal years. 

When he was misunderstood and falsely accused, 
he thought of the promise that he should reach the 
sphere where he would see face to face, and know 
even as he himself was known, and he caught a 
foretaste of the blessedness of the inheritance 
awaiting him with the saints in light. 

When weak and weary with toil and travel and 
care, he thought of the promise that his body, 

The Temporal and the Eternal. 117 

though sown in weakness, should be raised in pow- 
er, knowing that if the earthly house of his taber- 
nacle were dissolved, he had a building of God, a 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 
The transient weariness, toil, and care that he en- 
countered were light in contrast with the power 
and felicity to which he was going. 

When he realized the disabilities and dishonors 
of the flesh, he remembered that he was a child of 
God and a joint heir with Christ, and felt a mighty 
joy swell within him as he compared the sufferings 
of this present time with the glory which should 
be revealed in the redeemed who shall be delivered 
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious 
liberty of the children of God. The touches that 
come thus through the things which are seen and 
temporal prepare the believer for the things that 
are unseen and eternal, all working together for 
them that love God. 

The most unearthly man I ever saw was John 
Wesley Childs, of Virginia. He was a Methodist 
preacher far famed for sanctity of life, soundness 
of doctrine in the pulpit, and faithfulness as a pas- 
tor. His name was a synonym for spirituality. 
There was a strange power in the gospel as he 
preached it, a something in his presence that re- 

n8 Upper Room Meditations. 

buked frivolity and awed the thoughtless and pro- 
fane into quietness and reverence. Early in his 
ministry this man of God lay for three days and 
nights unconscious, in a sort of trance, from which 
he emerged a changed man, subdued in manner, 
solemn and serene, walking softly all the days of 
his life. He saw and heard what he never would 
utter; he could never be induced to speak of this 
experience, similar to that related by St. Paul in 
the twelfth chapter of his Second Epistle to the 
Corinthians. He had caught a foregleam of the 
great things over there, and he never lost the touch 
that came to him then. 

The late Bishop H. N. McTyeire, one of the 
least effusive yet most thoughtful of men, on his 
deathbed said to his neighbor and friend, Judge 
Edward H. East: "If I could be raised up and per- 
mitted again to enter the pulpit, how I could 
preach about heaven! I have had a glimpse of the 
other side." With that glimpse came a touch that 
prepared that stalwart thinker for the unseen and 
eternal verities just ahead of him. 


" Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed 
unto the day of redemption. ;; (Eph. iv. 30.) 

Grieving the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit is a Person. If we deny this, 
we are at sea. If we forget it, we lose our reckon- 
ing. The mystery and the comfort of this great 
fact of the gospel of Christ are equal. The blessed 
Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit 
— are included in the Scripture which furnishes 
the motto for this chapter. The triunity of the 
Godhead is in the New Testament so emphasized 
that the denial of it by good men who have good 
sense and candor seems very strange. 

Jesus weeping over Jerusalem was not more truly 
a Person than is the Holy Spirit grieving over the 
sins and perils of backsliding believers. In the days 
of his flesh how close the pitying Christ came to 
the hearts that ached and the bodies that were sick! 
Through all the days of the new dispensation that 
followed his departure how close comes that other 
promised Comforter that abides with us forever, 
and to every needy and receptive soul speaks the 
word Jesus would speak and gives the touch Jesus 
would give! This fourth chapter of the Epistle to 
the Ephesians summarizes the truth on this line: 
"There is one body, and one Spirit, . . . one 


122 Upper Room Meditations. 

Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father 
of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you 
all." "Here is the blessed Trinity: God over all as 
a Father, through all by the Word that was made 
flesh and dwelt among us, and in all by the Holy 
Spirit" — as Dr. Adam Clarke puts it. 

Of course all willful sin grieves the Holy Spirit. 
Persisted in, such sin at first dims and at last 
quenches the light of spiritual life. The grieving 
of the Holy Spirit is the beginning of spiritual 
death. Sensibility is the sign of life; the loss of it 
is death to the soul. Let us beware lest we mis- 
take deadness for soundness. 

Love is not forgetful. Neglect of God's Word 
is a sign of forgetfulness of him, and grieves the 
Holy Spirit. Neglect of prayer is a sign of forget- 
fulness of the prayer-hearing God, and grieves the 
Holy Spirit. Neglect of Christian fellowship is a 
sign of forgetfulness of Him after whom the whole 
family is named in heaven and earth. Like seeks 
like. Love of the brethren is an invariable sign of 
the new life of God in the soul. Neglect of these 
means of grace grieves the Holy Spirit, by whom 
the believer is led and kept from day to day. These 
are truisms to the average disciple of Christ who 
will see these pages. But they are as true as truth 

Grieving the Holy Spirit. 123 

itself, and as solemn as life and death are sol- 

The Holy Spirit is what the name implies — the 
Holy Spirit, a Person, remember. His presence is 
the proof of the new birth and the witness of adop- 
tion into the family of God. The reader will know 
the meaning of these New Testament expressions. 
A trifling, irreverent temper grieves this indwell- 
ing companion of the disciples of Christ, who was 
promised and sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to 
abide with them forever. As St. Paul puts it in 
Romans viii. 11, the Holy Spirit "dwelleth" in true 
believers. If you are a true follower of Christ, the 
Holy Spirit rises with you in the morning, goes 
with you through every moment of the day, and 
blesses your sleeping hours with his presence. 
Therefore let us "watch and be sober," as the apos- 
tle exhorts the Thessalonians. All who name the 
name of Christ are thus exhorted to soberness of 
mind. The risible muscles are given to men as well 
as the lachrymal glands; it is therefore no more 
harmful to laugh than to cry. The religion of 
Christ is a cheerful religion. The joy of the Lord 
is the strength of the faithful. But this does not 
mean that a perpetual giggle is comely. It does 
not mean that ludicrous images are always to be 

124 Upper Room Meditations. 

welcomed in connection with sacred things. It 
does not mean that coarse humor is suited to the 
pulpit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is 
liberty, it is true, but not this sort of liberty surely. 
The sound of the rushing, mighty wind and the 
sight of the tongues of flame did not come to the 
disciples while they sat exchanging funny anec- 
dotes or engaged in personal gossip seasoned with 
satire or ridicule. Good men forget and make sad 
work in this matter. An entire discourse has been 
poisoned by one such dead fly. The religious in- 
fluence of many richly gifted men and women has 
been lost to the social circles they touched because 
di this taint and habit of undue levity. The Holy 
Spirit cannot dwell in such an atmosphere. The 
very countenance changes when the Holy Spirit is 
thus grieved and banished from the soul; the se- 
rene sanctity that sweetens and illumines the face 
of him in whom is this indwelling Spirit becomes 
dulled and darkened, so that it takes no special dis- 
cernment of spirits to detect the change. The 
"seal" is broken, a life is marred, possibly a soul is 

At the great Student Volunteer Missionary 
Convention held in Toronto, Canada, in March, 
1902, the enthusiasm, which was notable from the 

Grieving the Holy Spirit. 125 

start, reached a culminating point one day when 
some powerful addresses were delivered to the 
body by men notable for their fervor and elo- 
quence. At the close of one of the most glowing 
periods made by one of the speakers a ripple of ap- 
plause started, when J. R. Mott, a layman of 
mighty faith and deep spirituality, rose quickly 
from his seat, waved his hand for silence, and said: 
"Don't applaud; the Holy Spirit would be better 
pleased if we would have a few moments of silent 
prayer." The air of the place was freshly charged 
with divine power; the spiritual current of the 
meeting deepened visibly and consciously to the 
assembled thousands bent in silent prayer. 

At a social banquet given to welcome a new min- 
ister in one of our Southern cities about a dozen 
guests were present, most of whom were preachers 
of the gospel. It was veritably a feast of good 
things, with a flow of kindly feeling and the spar- 
kle of wit. The table talk at length ran mostly 
into the telling of humorous anecdotes, two or 
three of the clerical guests possessing unusual gifts 
in that line of things. The talk became lighter and 
still lighter, until it was felt by one of the guests 
that the atmosphere of the room was reaching a 
plane below that of a company of holy men who 

126 Upper Room Meditations. 

above all desired the presence and blessing of the 
Master who adorned with his presence and first 
miracle the bridal feast in Cana of Galilee. So, 
taking advantage of a momentary break in the con- 
versation, he said: "Brethren, let's take a vote 
among our company as to which is the finest hymn 
in the standard hymnology of all the different 
branches of the one Church of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." All gave immediate and hearty assent, 
and one by one they voted, each one for his favor- 
ite hymn, giving in most cases a word of criticism 
and quoting a stanza or two. The air of the room 
was quickly surcharged with a gracious influence 
felt by all; into the talk there came a new element. 
Before separating, the company knelt together in 
prayer, and felt the touch that made them one in 
Christ Jesus. The hymns had tuned their souls 
for the prayer; the prayer was a factor in the good 
work of the Lord that is preparing them through 
grace abiding for the fellowship of the saints in 


"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who 
comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able 
to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort 
wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (2 Cor. 
i- 3. 4-) 

Glorying in Tribulations. 

The apostle endured hardness. In tribulations 
he gloried, and that was a very different thing. 
He knew what he was talking about, for his tribu- 
lations were continual and heavy. 

The etymologists tell us that tribulation literal- 
ly means "threshing." Taking it in this sense, St. 
Paul had his full share. He was a much-threshed 
and hard-threshed man. Five times he received on 
his bare back forty stripes save one at the hands of 
the Jews, who made no child's play of this exercise. 
The apostle's remembrance of these threshings 
seems to have been very vivid and exact; he knew 
just how many times he had been publicly whipped, 
and just the number of blows he received each time. 
He had other experiences that might come under 
this head. He knew the inside of many jails, and 
the jails of his day did not minister to a prisoner's 
comfort nor gratify his aesthetic taste. Their fare 
was not luxurious, their society was not select. 
Let him tell the story in his own words: "Of the 
Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, 
thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have 
9 ( I2 9) 

130 Upper Room Meditations. 

been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils 
of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine 
own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in per- 
ils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils 
in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weari- 
ness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger 
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and naked- 


His tribulations touched his sensibilities as well 
as his body. Like his Master, he was wounded in 
the house of his friends so called. His good was 
evil spoken of. He felt the pang that pierces a gen- 
erous heart in the discovery that a trusted friend 
i$ unworthy of that sacred name. Having also the 
care of all the Churches, we mav be sure that in 
the administration of discipline and adjustment 
of difficulties among so many who were weak and 
erring he was a vicarious sufferer, as all his true 
successors — successors in soundness of doctrine 
and singleness of spirit — have been. His tribula- 
tions on this line, glanced at in his appeal to his 
credentials as a true apostle, in contrast with false 
apostles who opposed and traduced him, were 
many and heavy. He had graduated in this school 
of the Master, baptized with his baptism and drink- 
jng of his cup. 

Glorying in Tribulations. 131 

And yet he gloried in tribulations because they 
gave him the touch that tuned him for the touch 
of God farther on as he made his way from grace 
to glory — "Knowing," as he says in the fifth chap- 
ter of Romans, "that tribulation worketh patience; 
and patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love 
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost which isgiven unto us." Thus it has worked 
with elect souls all along, including the Captain of 
our salvation, who in some true sense was made 
perfect through suffering. 

There was in one of the great divisions of the 
Methodist Church in America a mighty preacher 
of the gospel, an Apollo in physical beauty, a 
Chrysostom in eloquence. His popularity knew 
no bounds, and his usefulness was just as great dur- 
ing many years. His name was a household word 
in thousands of homes, and his praises were cele- 
brated far beyond the limits of his own denomina- 
tion and section. Suddenly he was arrested in his 
brilliant and fruitful ministry by an affection of his 
throat. At first he was crippled and weakened, and 
then silenced and almost wholly disabled. God 
only knew the bitterness of this cup that was given 
his servant to drink. How he prayed and agonized 

132 Upper Room Meditations. 

in secret is known only to Him who knoweth all 
things. But it was evident to all who came close 
enough to him to catch his spirit that he had got- 
ten the victory of faith. His thorn in the flesh was 
not removed, but he found grace sufficient to turn 
the bitterness into sweetness. It was noticed by 
his brethren that a deeper serenity and greater 
spirituality marked his pale and wasted features; 
and his voice, weakened almost to a whisper, had 
a pathos in its tones too tender to be described 
on paper. The mighty preacher was thus tuned 
for the touch of God that gave to him the crown- 
ing blessing of his life; and when he died in holy 
peace and joyful hope none doubted that he was 
tuned for the touch that gives glory beyond the 
veil to the child of God who goes up to take his 
place with the white-robed hosts that came out of 
great tribulation and have washed their robes and 
made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 


" Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits wheth- 
er they are of God: because many false prophets are gone 
out into the world." (i John iv. i.) 

Try the Spirits. 

This is not an obsolete caution. False teachers 
have been doing their evil work from the start. 
They have been plausible, persistent, and poison- 
ous all along. The more vital the touch, the more 
surely have they perverted it. The more precious 
the doctrine, the more skillfully have they coun- 
terfeited it. Satan himself is transformed into an 
angel of light — so we are truly told. The Master 
himself puts us on our guard: "False Christs and 
false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and 
wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the 
elect." These are Christ's own words. They are 
very significant. They embody a prophecy which 
has been signally fulfilled; the false prophets and 
false teachers have flourished during every gener- 
ation that has followed. The intimation seems to 
be clear that it is not possible to deceive the elect. 
We are ready to give our grateful assent to this 
assertion on condition that we define the elect to 
be those who willingly obey the gospel — "whoso- 
ever will." The truth, and the whole truth in this 
connection, is: First, that God works in them to 
will and to do; secondly, that they, not receiving 


136 Upper Room Meditations. 

the grace of God in vain, work out their own salva- 
tion with a watchfulness and diligence propor- 
tioned to the magnitude of the interest involved 
and the weight of responsibility thus incurred. 

There is no need that any sincere disciple of 
Christ should be deceived and ruined. The spirits 
may be tried and tested by the Word of God. If 
they speak not according to that Word, it is be- 
cause there is no truth in them. 

The Holy Scriptures are the only and infallible 
rule of faith and practice — as our Article of Reli- 
gion affirms. Bring all the spirits to this touch- 
stone. The aggregated company of false teachers 
is Antichrist. Differing as they do in many things, 
varying as they are in the measure of their absurdi- 
ty and hurtfulness, they have one feature in com- 
mon: denial of the divinity and Messiahship of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. It need not be argued here that 
the doctrine of the Holy Trinity — three persons in 
the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost — is involved with that of the divinity of 
Christ. If human language has any meaning, that 
tact is affirmed in the Holy Scriptures — affirmed ex- 
plicitly, repeatedly, solemnly, joyfully. That some 
calling themselves Christians have denied it is a 
fact equally surprising and grievous, as it seems to 

Try the Spirits. 137 

me. But it is a blessed fact that the consensus of 
the Christian world through all the ages has been 
on the right side of this vital question. The great 
body of believers have put the name of Christ 
above every name in earth and heaven. And there 
it will remain. 

There is also the test of experience by which we 
may try the spirits. There is certainty here for the 
sincere soul. God will be true to his promise: "If 
any man will do his will, he shall know of the doc- 
trine." Yes, obedience is the organ of spiritual 
knowledge, a knowledge that is satisfying. The 
Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirits that our Re- 
deemer lives; that we have a risen Christ who hath 
power on earth to forgive sins; that he is a living 
Christ who is able to save to the uttermost all 
that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth 
to make intercession for them; that he is the prop- 
er object of our supreme adoration and grateful 
affection. Taught by the word of truth, and 
touched by the Holy Spirit, the possessor of a true 
faith crowns Jesus Lord of all. This is the su- 
preme test. This knowledge is certain. The ex- 
perience is heaven begun below. 

A heathen has said: "Complaisance, taking the 
word in its worst sense, signifies a habit of conform- 

138 Upper Room Meditations. 

ing to the sentiments of others, and lending one- 
self to do whatever he may please without being re- 
strained by a principle of integrity." A Christian 
writer says: "A humble believer passes through the 
deep mysteries of the Word safely, without plun- 
ging into any dangerous mistakes; whereas the 
sons of pride, that take reason for their guide, 
are drowned in many ruinous errors." And John 
Fletcher, our own John Fletcher, has said: "Fa- 
naticism is the child of false zeal and of supersti- 
tion, the father of intolerance and of persecution." 
Try the spirits. The touchstone is the Word of 



'And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him 
that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. 
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." 
(Rev. xxii. 17.) 

In the Spirit on the Lord's Day. 

To some who will read these pages there is a 
heavenly poetry in the words: "In the Spirit on 
the Lord's day." They recall the holiest, sweet- 
est moments of their lives. They remind them of 
the blessedness to which they are looking in the 
city of God. 

The use we make of the Lord's day, the spirit in 
which we look to it and enter upon it, shows what 
we are and whither we are going. 

The ideal Sabbath is unattainable now. Dis- 
abilities and limitations are unavoidable. This is 
not our rest in any absolute sense of the word. We 
have the rest of faith now; the rest that remains for 
us is the rest of glorification. The rest of faith has 
in it a foretaste of the rest beyond — the earnest of 
the inheritance — as the apostle describes it in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. The essential elements 
of our felicity here and there are the same; the dif- 
ference will be a difference of degree and environ- 
ment. Up there we shall have the fullness of joy, 
with nothing to hurt or destroy. Truisms, do you 
say? Yes, true they are; but such truths as will 
give new joy to the new life forever. The kingdom 


142 Upper Room Meditations. 

of heaven is within us; in its subjective elements it 
can be nowhere else, as it consists of righteousness, 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Therefore we 
must take it with us initially if we would enter into 
its full and final enjoyment. 

In the early Church the Lord's day was conse- 
crated to worship, almsgiving, and the Lord's Sup- 
per. To be in the Spirit on that day was to be 
tuned for those exercises. The special sense in 
which the expression is used to designate the ec- 
stasy or trance of St. Paul when he did not know 
whether he was in the body or out of the body is 
the same as that vouchsafed to other apostles and 
prophets when the outer world is shut out, and the 
inner and higher life or spirit is taken full posses- 
sion of by our God. Whether this special and 
most exalted mode of the manifestation of God's 
power is to be expected now, will not be discussed 
here, further than to say: This is preeminently the 
dispensation of the Spirit, and God is limited only 
in the modes and measure of his manifestation by 
his own good pleasure. The miraculous element 
in such a manifestation weighs nothing against its 
possibility. The conviction of a sinner, the con- 
version of a penitent, the growth in grace of a be- 
liever, is a greater miracle than the stilling of the 

In the Spirit on the Lord's Day. 143 

tempest or the multiplying of the loaves and fishes, 
The spiritual miracles of this dispensation are the 
normal manifestation of God's saving power 
through the agencies of the gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

To be in the Spirit on the Lord's day means, as 
already intimated, to be in the spirit of worship. 
To worship God is the highest action of a human 
soul. Real worship is meant here, of course. The 
apostle John states this solemn truth in his own 
weighty words: "God is a Spirit: and they that 
worship him must worship him in spirit and in 
truth." What does it mean to you — this saying, 
that God is a Spirit? To many it means nothing. 
That which hath neither body nor parts is nothing 
to the mind of a materialist. That which can nei- 
ther be seen nor felt is to such merely a name or an 
abstraction. There must be spiritual consciousness, 
perception, and insight in order to get the meaning 
of this sublime declaration that God is a Spirit. 
Negatively, God, who is a Spirit, has none of the 
limitations of matter. Time and space are nothing 
to him. He inhabiteth eternity: past, present, and 
future are to him the same. He is everywhere 
present at the same moment : take the wings of the 
morning and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, 

144 Upper Room Meditations. 

and he is there; the heaven of heavens cannot con- 
tain him. Positively, God, who is a Spirit, is pos- 
sessed of unlimited power. This power is partially 
discerned in the forces of nature. The material 
universe is but his vesture : he covers himself with 
light as with a garment, and stretchest out the 
heavens like a curtain. The tremendous forces of 
nature, which are more and more revealed in our 
day of scientific marvels, speak to us of the mighty 
God who maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a 
flaming fire, who hath his way in the whirlwind. 
In the physical universe in its immensity, and in 
the phenomena of nature, parts of his ways are dis- 
closed, but the thunder of his power who can un- 
derstand? To the question propounded by the 
man of Uz away back in the dim ages of the past 
we can give no answer other than that given by 
him when he bowed in adoration before the In- 
finite Spirit and waited for the fuller disclosures 
promised in the life to come. 

God as a Spirit, omnipresent, omniscient, eter- 
nal, is a conception too mighty to be grasped. But 
these attributes, even imperfectly apprehended, 
furnish the foundation for the faith and worship 
that fills this earthly life with blessedness and be- 
gets within us the hope of future glory that fills 

In the Spirit on the Lord's Day. 145 

the measure of our aspirations. As revealed in the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, this God whom we 
worship is a God of love as well as of wisdom and 
power. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. On 
the Lord's day the disciples met in his name. They 
remembered his promise: "Lo, I am with you al- 
way, even unto the end of the world." And also 
that promise of our Lord: "Where two or three 
are gathered together in my name, there am I in 
the midst of them." The fulfillment of these prom- 
ises has made the house of God the gate of heaven 
to worshiping assemblies from age to age, has en- 
dued the pulpit with heavenly unction, and made 
the songs of the sanctuary channels for the down- 
pouring streams of that river of water of life pro- 
ceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 
If you are in the Spirit on the Lord's day, you will 
be glad to worship him with a loving heart, wheth- 
er it be in the great congregations or in the little 
companies where the promise of their Lord's pres- 
ence is pleaded and fulfilled, or in the secret place 
where the worshiping soul meets the prayer-an- 
swering God. Wherever there is a worshiping 
soul there is a present Christ. 

To be in the Spirit on the Lord's day means to 
make it a day for almsgiving and deeds of mercy 


146 Upper Room Meditations. 

and kindness of every sort. That was the interpre- 
tation and practice of the early Church. The num- 
ber of souls that have been helped and cheered by 
such ministrations will never be known this side of 
that world where human lives are reviewed and re- 
warded according to their works. The disciple 
meets his Lord on every errand of this sort. "Inas- 
much as ye did it unto one of the least of these my 
xbrethren, ... ye did it unto me/' he says. To be in 
the Spirit on the Lord's day, going on his errands, 
with his companionship, puts a divine element into 
these human experiences now, and makes memo- 
ries that will sweeten the very joys of heaven. It is 
Move's labor, and love makes it easy when one is in 
the Spirit. "It is more blessed to give than to re- 
ceive." Money, prayer, food, and raiment, and 
above all the pitying love of Jesus — give as you can 
now, and thus impart to your earthly Sabbaths a 
foretaste of the joys and foregleams of the glory 

Being in the Spirit on the Lord's day prepared 
the early Christians for celebrating the Supper of 
the Lord. It was a weekly memorial of his pas- 
sion, death, resurrection, and second coming. It 
was to them a sacrament unspeakably solemn, ten- 
der, joyful. So it has been to believers all along, 

In the Spirit on the Lord's Day. 147 

and so it should be to us who, following their foot- 
steps, hope to be ready for his coming and partici- 
pate with them in the blessedness that is promised 
to the faithful. The touches of grace at the Lord's 
table tune us for the glory that is to be then re- 

Many incidents illustrating the topic of this 
meditation pass before my mind, but they all give 
place to the recollection of that Lord's day so long, 
long ago when I stood before the chancel of the 
church and took the vows of discipleship, and then 
knelt and partook of the emblems of his broken 
body and shed blood. The peace that follows the 
pardon of sin, the sense of a mighty love, and the 
joy of a mighty hope were in my soul. That peace, 
that love, and that joy are with me now. 

Quaint old George Herbert says: "On Sunday 
heaven's gates stand open." A mighty preacher of 
a later day has said: "Through the week we go 
down into the valleys of care and shadow. Our 
Sabbaths should be hills of light and joy in God's 
presence; and so, as time rolls by, we shall go on 
from mountain top to mountain top, till at last we 
catch the glory of the gate, and enter in to go no 
more out forever." 

'In the Spirit' — a state of ecstasy; the outer 

tl c\ 

148 Upper Room Meditations. 

world being shut out and the inner or higher life 
or spirit being taken full possession of by God's 
Spirit, so that an immediate connection with the 
invisible world is established. While the prophet 
'speaks' in the Spirit, the apocalyptic seer is in the 
Spirit in his whole person. The Spirit only (that 
which connects us with God and the invisible 
world) is active, or rather recipient, in the apoca- 
lyptic state. With Christ his being 'in the Spirit' 
was not the exception, but his continual state." 
(Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.) 

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty ! 

All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and 

sky and sea. 
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty, 
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity ! 


"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons 
of God." (Rom. viii. 14.) 

Blessedness of Being Led by the Spirit. 

The third Person in the Godhead is called the 
Holy Spirit because of his essential holiness, and 
because it is his peculiar work to sanctify the peo- 
ple of God. He is called the Spirit, by way of emi- 
nence, as the immediate Author of spiritual life in 
the hearts of Christians. Distinct personal attri- 
butes and acts are ascribed to the Holy Spirit: He 
speaks; he teaches; he reproves; he makes inter- 
cession for the saints, and helps their infirmities. 
He is grieved; apostles are set apart by him to the 
work of the ministry, and he appoints them to that 
work. "He searcheth all things, yea, the deep 
things of God." One office of this Personal Agent, 
the Holy Spirit, is that of a leader. 

The Holy Spirit leads to repentance. He re- 
proves the sinner of sin, of righteousness, and judg- 
ment to come. He is an enlightener; he shines 
into the soul, revealing to the sinner his true char- 
acter and condition in the sight of God. He shines 
upon the Word of God, and brings the truth to 
light, revealing the holiness of the divine law, 
which is a transcript of the holiness of the divine 


IS 2 Upper Room Meditations. 

nature. He leads the sinner from the darkness of 
ignorance into the light of truth. 

The Holy Spirit leads to repentance. The sin- 
fulness of the sinner's heart is revealed to him as 
he looks within, and he not only knows, but feels 
himself to be a sinner unworthy, of the favor of 
God. The Holy Spirit has searched him and tried 
him, has discovered to him the plague of his own 
heart, and he realizes the sinfulness of sin. David, 
describing his penitential pangs, says: "The pains 
of hell gat hold upon me" — and literally it was so. 
The remorse, the shame, the anguish of the awak- 
ened sinner proceed from the same cause that will 
make hell — a sinful nature and an awakened con- 
science. As surely as the Christian has in this 
world a foretaste of heaven, so surely has the sin- 
ner a foretaste of hell. The unholy may doubt 
whether there is a hell for them to go to when 
they die, but many of them cannot doubt that they 
will carry a hell with them into the future life, if 
there is such a life. Conscience is God's police of- 
ficer in the soul, and a man can no more escape it 
than he can escape from himself. The Holy Spirit 
makes the guilty sinner a penitent sinner. 

The Holy Spirit leads to pardon. The pardon 
of sin is purely a doctrine of the Christian revela- 

Being Led by the Spirit. 153 

tion, unknown to the heathen world, and as taught 
in the Word of God is beyond the reach of human 
invention. The Holy Spirit leads the penitent sin- 
ner to see his guilt, to feel his need of a Saviour; 
and then, under his further guidance, the contrite 
sinner is led to Christ, the Lamb of God that tak- 
eth away the sin of the world. He is led to see the 
suitableness of such a Saviour to meet his need, to 
understand and by faith apply the promises of the 
Bible to his own soul, and is enabled by the help of 
the Holy Spirit to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ 
as the full and sufficient atonement, oblation, and 
satisfaction for his sins. That is to say, he is justi- 
fied by faith, and this faith by which he is justified 
is the gift of God by the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit leads to the sanctification of the 
believer. "Leads" is the word from first to last. He 
does not drag nor drive. This is the peculiar work 
of the Holy Spirit. He works in us to bring forth 
the fruit of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace, 
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meek- 
ness, temperance." This might pass for a defini- 
tion of sanctification. These graces live and grow 
in all who are led by the Spirit. The apostle Paul, 
in the eleventh verse of the First Epistle to the 
Corinthians, summarizes the whole truth in this 

r 54 Upper Room Meditations. 

connection in the words: "Ye are sanctified, ye are 
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and 
by the Spirit of our God." All who are born of 
the Spirit are led and guided by him through 
every stage of experience in the Christian life, 
from the moment the sinner turns from the ways 
of sin, and passes through the strait gate of re- 
pentance, until he enters upon his final inherit- 
ance among the sanctified millions in the life ever- 
lasting. In all this gracious work of the Holy 
Ghost one touch tunes the soul for another from 
the conviction of the sinner to the coronation of 
the saint in glory. 

The sons of God — what overwhelming conde- 
scension and love does such a relation imply! To 
be a servant of God would be a privilege, to be the 
friend of God would be a distinguished honor; but 
to be a son of God — what matchless love is here! 
The significance of this designation claims a word. 

Believers are the children of God by regenera- 
tion. They are born of the Spirit, born from above, 
and thus renewed in the divine image. 

Believers are the children of God by adoption. 
The apostle Paul, in the fifteenth and sixteenth 
verses of the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the 
Romans, says: "Ye have not received the spirit of 

Being Led by the Spirit. 155 

bondage again to fear; but ye have received the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, 
that we are the children of God." Among the 
Greeks and Romans the adoption of male children 
was a common custom. Adoption signifies the 
placing as a son of one who is not so by birth and 
conferring on him the rights, privileges, and in- 
heritance that belong to children. This illustrates 
the change of relation that takes place when a sin- 
ner, led by the Spirit, returns to God. God be- 
comes in a new and particular sense his Father. He 
can approach God with confidence and filial love. 
For "like as a father pitieth his children, so the 
Lord pitieth them that fear him." God is our Fa- 
ther; and while he watches over us with a Father's 
love, and extends to us a Father's protection, he, 
for our good, imposes the restraints dictated by pa- 
ternal wisdom, and administers the chastisement 
needed. The chastisements of earthly parents are 
not always dispensed with good judgment and jus- 
tice, and therefore they sometimes do harm instead 
of good. But the chastisements of our Heavenly 
Father are always for our good. The apostle Paul 
thus states this truth in the twelfth chapter of his 
Epistle to the Hebrews: "We have had fathers of 

156 Upper Room Meditations. 

our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them 
reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjec- 
tion unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they 
verily for a few days chastened us after their own 
pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be 
partakers of his holiness." It is a gracious paradox 
that there is comfort in knowing that our Heaven- 
ly Father afflicts with power; this gives the assur- 
ance that the chastisement will not be in vain. He 
can continue it until the object is accomplished. 
He chastens with wisdom and in love; he knows 
when and how to afflict. He will stop at the right 
time. No unnecessary pain will be inflicted, and 
the chastisement will not be continued a moment 
longer than is necessary. Hence we can adopt the 
language of the apostle Paul in the fourth chapter 
of his Second Epistle to the Corinthians: "Our 
light affliction, which is but for a moment, work- 
eth for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory; while we look not at the things which are 
seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the 
things which are seen are temporal; but the things 
which are not seen are eternal." Christians may 
be thankful for afflictions; they may glory in tribu- 

The Holy Spirit leads believers to the realiza- 

Being Led by the Spirit. 157 

tion of that blessed experience described by the 
apostle in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the 
Romans: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with 
our spirit, that we are the children of God." The 
words deserve to be printed in golden letters. You 
could never doubt the love of your mother, though 
her eye may sometimes have looked upon you re- 
provingly, and her gentle hand may have held the 
rod of correction. Her love was a felt reality; the 
certainty of it neither absence nor the lapse of roll- 
ing years could destroy or diminish. So the be- 
liever knows that he is a child of God. The love of 
God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit. 
And he feels a mighty joy in the assurance that 
nothing can separate him from that love. 

The Holy Spirit is an infallible Guide. He some- 
times leads us by a way that we know not ; but he 
knows, and will lead us aright. We walk by faith, 
not by sight. There are occasions in the lives of 
all when the need of such a Guide is felt — times 
when those that have no other support than that 
which nature gives will sink into despondency or 
despair. But he that is led by the Holy Spirit will 
at such times cling the more closely to the Rock; 
he may for a season walk in darkness, but not in 
doubt or dread. 

Holiness is the evidence of adoption. Obedi- 

158 Upper Room Meditations. 

ence is the test of sonship. Where the Holy Spirit 
guides, he also governs. A commander that leads 
an army directs all its movements. The Holy Spir- 
it is a leader and commander to the people of God. 

The Holy Spirit uses no compulsion. He leads 
only those who are willing to be led. He drags no 
unwilling soul to heaven. You can refuse to be 
led. You can repel this Friend who is ready to 
lead you to eternal life. Your freedom measures 
your responsibility, and it gives an element of 
blessedness that will enhance the riches of your in- 
heritance as a child of God and heir of heaven to. 
know that you voluntarily chose that better part, 
and that your love for him is not the love of a slave, 
but of a child. 

The leading of the Holy Spirit that begins with 
the touch of true penitence ends with holy free- 
dom and holy delight never to end. 


' Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is 
passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold 
fast our profession." (Heb. iv. 14.) 

Our Great High Priest. 

A priest and a prophet are necessary to every 
system of religion — a priest, that the functions of 
public worship may be performed; a prophet, that 
the will of God may be declared. Under the Old 
Testament dispensation Moses was the prophet, 
and Aaron the priest. The prophets succeeded 
Moses, and Aaron was succeeded by his sons. Un- 
der this New Testament dispensation Jesus is both 
Prophet and Priest. 

A priest is a mediator between God and man. 
This is specially true of the high priest. The Le- 
vitical priesthood was typical. The Antitype 
has come, Jesus the Son of God. His priesthood 
is the subject of a large part of this Epistle to 
the Hebrews, the object of which was to confirm 
the Hebrew believers in their devotion to Chris- 
tianity. The apostle's argument is, that the new 
dispensation is superior to the old, and that it 
would be folly and madness in the Jewish converts 
to go back to the dead forms of an obsolete sys- 
tem, as they were tempted to do. Perhaps some 
of them did go back, for dead forms become very 
attractive to backslidden believers. "Come back 
u (161) 

162 Upper Room Meditations. 

to the Old Church; you have no tabernacle, no 
temple, no high priest, no sacrifice for sin," said 
their Judaizing tempters. Paul's answer was sub- 
stantially this: "No, we will not go back, for we 
have Jesus. We will not give up a present tense 
gospel and a living Christ, Jesus the Son of God." 
What Paul said then we can say now: We have Je- 
sus, the Son of God, a divine Christ, the Lord of 
men and angels — God manifest in the flesh. If he 
were other than this, or less than this, he could 
not have been our great High Priest. No created 
being could make atonement for sin; the Mediator 
for sinners must himself be sinless. The sacrifice 
oi Jesus once offered is sufficient. We have him 
as our sacrifice for sin. 

We have Jesus as our perpetual Advocate, our 
Intercessor. "If any man sin, we have an advo- 
cate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 
We can never know in this life how much we owe 
to the intercession of Jesus Christ. While we pray 
he prays. While his disciples toiled in rowing that 
dark and stormy night on the Sea of Galilee, he 
was praying for them on the mountain ; and in the 
fourth watch of the night he came to them walk- 
ing upon the sea. So it is now with his Church 
and with each and every individual follower: he 

Our Great High Priest. 163 

may seem to delay, and sometimes the night seems 
to be very long and the toil very hard; but he 
comes at last, walking, if need be, over a sea of 
troubles, to rescue his people and to save his 

We have Jesus in the present tense in the pow- 
er of the Holy Ghost. It is a wonderful truth that 
there is a reincarnation of the Son of God in every 
believing soul. "Lo, I am with you alway, even 
to the end of the world," is his promise made to 
his disciples just before his ascension. It is as one 
has said, "as if he had turned himself into spirit 
and poured himself upon the world." In bodily 
presence he was limited by the laws of matter in 
the human nature which he assumed. His spirit- 
ual presence is not limited by natural law. In a 
way that we may not fully comprehend at the Pen- 
tecost the Spirit was poured out in such a way 
that it is as if Jesus in person were present in bodi- 
ly form, touching all needy and responsive souls 
all over the world at the same instant. 

Having such a great High Priest, let us hold 
fast our profession. What was that profession? 

1. It was a profession of faith in Jesus as our 

2. It was a profession of love to his person. 

164 Upper Room Meditations. 

3. It was a profession of zeal for his cause. 

4. It was a profession of devotion to his Church. 
Jesus is the Head of the Church, and rules this 

world and all worlds in its interest. The Church 
is his chosen agency for the conversion of the 
world. The Church is adequate to this lofty and 
blessed mission. The gospel of Christ shall be 
preached to all nations; the knowledge of God shall 
cover the earth as the waters cover the sea; the 
kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms 
of our Lord and his Christ; every knee shall bow, 
and every tongue confess to the glory of God the 
Father. I speak of the Church, but do I mean only 
those of my own denomination? No; in the deep- 
est and most sacred sense of the word every per- 
son who has a true faith in the Lord jesus Christ 
is a member of the Church. In this fullest sense 
of the word there is only one Church. The Scrip- 
tures speak of the Church — not the Churches — of 
Christ. To discredit the Church is to discredit 
Jesus, the Head of the Church. The unity of the 
Church is promised in the Word of God, and it will 
come. The trend now is in that direction. First 
freedom, then unity — that is the order. 



" Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, 
and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, 
and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the 
Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house 
with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. . . . The glory 
of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith 
the Lord of hosts: and in this place I will give peace, saith 
the Lord of hosts." (Haggai ii. 6-9.) 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory. 

Haggai, the tenth in order of the minor proph- 
ets, was first of the three raised up to declare the 
will of God after the return of the Jews from the 
Babylonian captivity. The Jews having for four- 
teen years discontinued the rebuilding of the tem- 
ple, Haggai was commissioned to encourage them 
in their work. The stricken, sorrowful, and doubt- 
ing Israelites were told: "Be strong ... for 
I am with you . . . according to the word 
that I covenanted with you when ye came out of 
Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you: fear 
ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; yet 
once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heav- 
ens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 
and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all 
nations shall come: and I will fill this house with 
glory, saith the Lord of hosts. . . . The glory 
of this latter house shall be greater than of the 
former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place 
will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." 

The world was already in travail for the birth of 

the Son of God. There was universal expectation 

of a Messiah. God was preparing the world for 


168 Upper Room Meditattons. 

the coming of Christ. He was at the same time 
preparing the Church for its work. God always 
runs these lines of preparation parallel to each 
other. There was a mighty shaking of the nations 
preparatory to the advent of Jesus Christ. The 
Persian monarchy was overthrown by Alexander 
within two centuries after this prediction; Alexan- 
der's kingdom was overthrown by the Romans; 
and many other great revolutions took place pre- 
paratory to the one great and final religious revo- 
lution, which was consummated in a little more 
than five hundred years from the second year of 
Darius — a short period compared with the period 
that elapsed from the creation to the giving of the 
law; or from the giving of the law till the coming 
of the Messiah's kingdom. Jewish religion, Greek 
culture, and Roman power all contributed to this 
preparation. The perfect Greek language was be- 
ing prepared as the vehicle for New Testament 
thought, and the great Roman power was being 
consolidated, in which the whole world was bound 
together to receive the impress of Christianity. 
Sinai quaked when God gave the law; the whole 
earth was shaken to prepare for the coming of the 
Messiah — of which this text furnishes a grand pre- 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory. 169 

The key to this prophecy is in its duality. This 
twofold character of the prophecies of the Old Tes- 
tament is a feature the remembrance of which gives 
us the solution of this passage. In this duality 
of Old Testament prophecy we see the wisdom 
and goodness of God. The fulfillment of that part 
of a prophecy which is near at hand encourages 
the faith of believers and furnishes indubitable evi- 
dence that all the unfulfilled prophecies of the Bi- 
ble will also be accomplished. Let us thank God 
for this "sure word of prophecy." Unto us the 
ends of the world have come. As the human race 
hastens on to the goal of its earthly destiny, proph- 
ecy after prophecy is fulfilled, God becomes more 
and more manifest in history, his wise purposes 
more and more apparent to the observing eye of 
the true believer; and thus faith grows stronger 
and hope brightens as we near the coming of the 

And so it is that this prophetic utterance of 
Haggai, in God s own wisdom, accomplishes its 
double purpose: strengthening the hands of Ze- 
rubbabel and his colaborers to rebuild the fallen 
temple at Jerusalem, and strengthening our hands 
as workmen in building the Church of Christ which 
is the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven 


170 Upper Room Meditations. 

from God. It was intended for this very purpose 
just as truly as if Haggai had uttered these words 
solely to give a text for this Meditation. To Ze- 
rubbabel and his fellow-laborers it said: "Though 
you have been punished for your sins, yet you are 
not forsaken by the God of your fathers; my Spirit 
is still with you; fear not. Cast not despairing 
glances backward upon the past glories of Israel, 
but look forward to the future. All the resources 
of the universe are in the hands of your God; the 
silver and the gold are his; Judah's conquered ban- 
ner will again be unfurled by her sons, and the sun 
of her destiny that set in tears and shame shall 
again rise in triumph and glory." The more im- 
mediate fulfillment of this prophecy may be found 
in the rebuilding of the temple with a splendor in 
some respects, according to Josephus, exceeding 
that of Solomon; in the glorious war for independ- 
ence under the Maccabees; in the advent of the 
Messiah, who actually stood and taught in the 
second temple, and whose Godhead and glory were 
revealed in the earthquake shock rending its veil 
at the crucifixion. 

But what does this prophecy say to us now? 

1. It reminds us that God is building a spiritual 
temple more glorious than any building made with 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory. 171 

hands — a building made of living stones hewn by 
our Christ from the quarries of a redeemed hu- 
manity. I once saw this temple in a dream. It 
stood in the center of an open court, and rose sto- 
ry on story, story on story until its summit was al- 
most lost in the skies. Language fails to describe 
its beauty and grandeur — its lofty columns, its 
tasteful capitals, its graceful arches, its swelling 
proportions, all blending into one harmonious and 
glorious whole, bathed in sunlight and canopied 
by the high blue heavens. And I saw the work- 
men at their work building this temple, which 
seemed to be near its completion, and as I looked 
I rejoiced in the contemplation of its almost per- 
fected beauty and glory. But, behold! what hor- 
rid scene is this? Many of the workmen have 
ceased their labor and are engaged in fearful strife 
with one another. Clinched in deadly embrace, 
they tear each other like wild beasts, swaying, 
struggling, writhing, the blood streaming from 
their bodies, while ever and anon the frenzied com- 
batants, still fighting, drag one another off the 
edge of the roof and fall headlong from the dizzy 
height and are crushed in mangled masses below. 
And I saw in my dream that some of the workmen 
went on with their work, not even pausing to no- 

172 Upper Room Meditations. 

tice the combatants, quietly replacing the timbers 
that were displaced. And I noticed in my dream 
that nobody seemed to harm these workmen who 
kept at their work. And it gladdened me in my 
dream to perceive that they were making progress, 
and that the building would soon be completed. 
My dream was interpreted to me. The temple 
was the Church of Christ. The workmen who 
stopped to fight one another are the professed fol- 
lowers of Jesus who turn aside to engage in perse- 
cutions and denominational quarrels, pulling down, 
mangling, and destroying each other instead of 
building up the Church of God. It was shown to 
me that, nevertheless, the work would go on; that 
God would fight the battles of all who would work 
faithfully in his cause; that the end is not far off 
when this glorious spiritual temple shall be fin- 
ished, and the headstone thereof shall be brought 
forth with shoutings, crying, "Grace, grace unto 
it." It was shown to me that the time was near 
at hand when the watchmen upon Zion's walls 
would see eye to eye, when needless strifes would 
cease, the practical unity of the Church be realized, 
and the millennial glory dawn. 

2. This prophecy says to us that God will shake 
all nations preparatory to the coming again of the 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory. 173 

Desire of all nations. God is shaking the nations 
now. We hear of wars and rumors of wars, fam- 
ine, earthquake and pestilence, political convul- 
sions, revolutions, social upheavals, hell vomiting 
up its legions for the last struggle with truth — its 
communism, its free love, its atheism, its Mormon- 
ism, its galvanized paganism, its counterfeit Chris- 
tianity. Is not the world again in travail for the 
birth of some great event? Yes; the nations are 
waiting for the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ. 
China waits with her hundreds of millions for the 
rising of the Sun of Righteousness upon the dark- 
ness that has brooded over her suffering and sin- 
ful people. Ethiopia, still stretching out her hands 
to God, is waiting for her Deliverer, who will come 
and will not tarry. Italy, throwing off the yoke of 
ecclesiastical despotism, waits the coming of the 
one only Head of the Church, whose light and easy 
yoke she will soon welcome, and whose banner of 
peace will wave over her sunny plains and olive- 
crowned hills. Spain, the paralyzed giant, waits 
the touch that will rouse her to new life and start 
her on a career marked by a glory greater and pur- 
er than when her victorious banner floated in the 
breezes of every sea and her soldiers carried her 
conquests into every clime. Russia, stirring with 

174 Upper Room Meditations. 

new thought and thrilling with new life in all her 
mighty mass, waits the coming of Him whose truth 
is always the harbinger alike of civil freedom and 
spiritual emancipation. France, scarcely yet recov- 
ered from the delirium of her last atheistic drunk- 
enness, staggering, blindly groping in the dark, 
waits the coming of Christ in the power of a gen- 
uine and accepted gospel that will more than fulfill 
the hopes of her enthusiasts, the dreams of her 
poets, bringing in that "Liberty, Equality, and 
Fraternity" which is the fruit not of unbelief and 
social theorizing, but of that love which tasted 
death for every man. Great Britain, oscillating be- 
tween a relapse into obsolete forms and scientific 
materialism, waits the coming of the Lord in a 
baptism of his Spirit that will check the ebbing of 
the Wesleyan movement and give it a new tidal 
sweep that will carry it onward until it breaks in 
glory upon the millennial shore. In America, the 
United States, seething in the vortex of conflicting 
ideas, right and wrong grappling in fierce conflict, 
every form of error rampant and every salient point 
in the camp of truth guarded by brave defenders; 
Mexico throwing off the leaden weight of its cor- 
rupted Christianity; Brazil catching the restless 
spirit of the age, and bending her ear to catch the 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory. 175 

awakening voice of God — all are waiting for the 
Desire of all nations, for the coming of the Lord in 
the fullness of the latter-day power and glory. 

3. This prophecy tells us substantially that there, 
is always as much of the Spirit of God in the world 
as there is receptivity among men. The Jews, in 
their decline and fall, had lost faith in the divine 
presence and favor; they seemed to think that 
God's mercy was "clean gone forever," he having 
withdrawn himself from them and left them to 
darkness and destruction. This was only true in 
this sense : that their unbelief and disobedience had 
closed the channels through which the grace of 
God could flow into their souls. There was no 
change in God; as a Sun, the beams of his truth 
shone with undiminished effulgence; as the Fount- 
ain of life, the ocean of his love was as deep and as 
wide as ever. But here was the trouble: the peo- 
ple were turned away from God, and there was 
lack of true hearts to reflect that light ; the hearts 
of the people were closed against his grace, and 
there was no channel into which it could flow. Do 
you not perceive this law by which the measure of 
God's grace manifested in the world is the meas- 
ure of human receptivity? All that his grace needs 
is a channel in which to flow. A revival of religion 

176 Upper Room Meditations. 

is the opening of the channels by the turning of 
men's wills to God. Solomon thought — inspiring- 
thought! — the conditions of salvation are within 
our own power. And this is the ground of our 
hope for the latter-day glory; more and deeper 
channels are being made for the grace of God to 
pour into the thought, the feeling, the hope, the 
activities of the world. The printing press, steam 
power, the electric telegraph, enlarging the boun- 
daries of human thought, multiplying the number 
of thinkers, quickening all movement on the earth 
— it all means not that these agencies shall be em- 
ployed in the service of the evil one, but that into 
tjiem all, as channels opened, God's truth and 
grace shall soon pour in a flood which will baptize 
all nations and fill the earth with the knowledge of 
God as the waters cover the sea. 

4. This prophecy tells us that the glory of Chris- 
tianity is not in the record of its past wonders, but 
in its present power and coming triumphs. If we 
look back with joy, we look forward with hope. 
If there is a glorious record behind, there is a more 
glorious future ahead. Christianity is the Church 
of the living God. I love to read of the wondrous 
works of God as recorded in the Bible, but the 
most wonderful of all the chapters in the history 

The Church's Latter-Day Glory. 177 

of redemption are those that contain the prophe- 
cies of the coming glory of the everlasting king- 
dom of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are now writ- 
ing new chapters of this history. We should be 
ashamed of our dullness and want of faith when we 
consider the prophecies and promises of the word 
of God concerning the power of the gospel and the 
certainty of its triumph. We have the very gos- 
pel the world needs, the very gospel which is to be 
preached to all nations, the gospel which offers 
salvation to all men on the simple condition of re- 
pentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus 
Christ. It is a gospel without limitations, a gos- 
pel without the red tape and circumlocution of 
formulated creeds and close ecclesiastical corpora- 
tions, a gospel of inner life and power instead of 
mere letter and form, the gospel which offers a 
present salvation in the name of the risen Redeem- 
er, a gospel that holds there is salvation for the 
whole world. This gospel is the power of God unto 
salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew 
first, and also to the Gentile. O Son of God, re- 
veal thy saving power to him who reads! 

We talk of Palestine as the Holy Land, and 
make pilgrimages to the spots hallowed by the 

footsteps of Jesus and the miracles of the New 

178 Upper Room Meditations. 

Testament. This is our Holy Land. Here where 
the greatest of all miracles has been wrought in 
our conversion; here where the Saviour's presence 
is seen in works more glorious and blessings more 
precious than all the wonders wrought by him in 
the days of his flesh; here where our dear departed 
ones sleep in Jesus and in hope; here where we have 
seen the grace of God in blessed baptisms of the 
Spirit of God; here, here is our Holy Land! 


O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man 
that trusteth in him." (Ps. xxxiv. 8.) 

The Test. 

No good man ever enjoyed a good thing without 
wishing to share it with others. The author of 
this text was enjoying the greatest of blessings, the 
favor of God. He had been beset with fears, and 
God had given him deliverance. He had been in 
many troubles, and God had saved him out of them 
all. The gratitude and joy that filled his soul were 
not the result of a mere abstract view of the per- 
fections of God, but of conscious communion with 
him, a personal experience of his goodness and 
love. The fears and troubles from which he had 
been delivered were the preparation for this deep 
joy expressing itself in this sublime burst of thanks- 
giving and praise. "Weeping may endure for a 
night, but joy cometh in the morning." The dark- 
est nights are often followed by the brightest 
mornings. This is the victory of faith, turning 
darkness to light, weakness into strength, out of 
the deepest sorrow bringing the highest spiritual 

If misery loves company, so does happiness, es- 
pecially religious happiness. The command to 

go into all the world and preach the gospel to ev- 


182 Upper Room Meditations. 

ery creature is written not only in the New Testa- 
ment but in every heart renewed by the Spirit. 
Every converted soul is not only a recipient, but 
also a dispenser of the grace of God. All who free- 
ly receive also freely give. This is the universal 
law of the kingdom of God. Its application to 
each one of us may help us to determine whether 
we are so receiving the grace of God as to be in 
full sympathy with the spirit of the gospel commis- 

Thus blessed with a sense of the goodness of 
God, the author of the text invites everybody to 
prove that goodness and to share the blessedness 
felt in his own grateful and happy heart. "O taste 
and see that the Lord is good." As if he had said: 
"I have found God faithful and gracious, a present 
help in time of trouble, a refuge in danger, a light 
in darkness. My glad heart is rejoicing in such a 
sense of his goodness that it overflows in a song of 
praise and thanksgiving. But I would not brood 
over my joy in silence and solitude until it stag- 
nates and dies; I must tell the news: the Lord hath 
done great things for me whereof I am glad ; come 
and I will tell what the Lord hath done for my 
soul. The Lord is good; test his goodness for 
yourself; taste and see." To taste and see that the 

The Test. 183 

Lord is good is to understand his truth and re- 
ceive his grace. The author of the text meant to 
imply several things: 

1. This implies that there is a God who can re- 
veal his truth to our minds; that we have minds 
that can apprehend God as he has revealed himself 
in his works and in his word. The idea of God and 
the worship of God are congenial to the human 
soul. The soul was made for God. Its longing 
for God cannot be laughed, sneered, or argued 
away. The poor heathen feels for him in the dark, 
and is never satisfied until he has found or invented 
some representation of him. The idea of God and 
the disposition to worship are inherent in human 
nature. The origin of this idea and this tendency 
is revealed in the Bible: He was made in God's im- 
age. He was made for God. Even in its ruins 
human nature shows marks of its high original. 
Under the regenerating and renewing power of 
divine grace, the soul of man is capable of the 
knowledge of God and may glow with adoration 
in the contemplation of the perfections of the di- 
vine nature. How weak and poor is that queer 
materialistic logic that seeks to prove that man 
was evolved from matter! Why do not the mate- 
rialists go a step further in the path of absurdity, 

184 Upper Room Meditations. 

and tell us that God was also thus evolved? If 
man was latent in matter — if the intellect of New- 
ton, Caesar, Napoleon, and Shakespeare, and the 
moral grandeur and nobility of Washington were 
evolved from the primordial cell, why limit the de- 
velopment short of Deity? If protoplasm can 
give us "Hamlet" and "Faust" and "Paradise 
Lost," why may it not also give us the Thunderer 
of Sinai and the Judge at the resurrection? No; 
materialism will not, cannot satisfy the human 
soul. It cries out for the living God. The Bible 
reveals God to our minds, and whoever contem- 
plates his glorious perfections in the light of his 
own truth will find a source of pure and inexhaust- 
ible enjoyment, leading him to say, "O taste and 
see that the Lord is good" — good in all the ele- 
ments of his being, making him worthy of the 
adoration of all his creatures and worthy to reign 
over all the universe. Then taste and see. Search 
the Scriptures for yourself. You will find the very 
truth you need. The Bible is as many-sided as hu- 
man nature, as many-voiced as the breathings of 
the human soul. In it every man may find the 
aliment that will nourish his soul, the truth that 
shall make him free, the light that shall guide his 
doubtful feet to God and heaven. 

The Test. 185 

2. This text implies that we can enjoy an actual 
experience of God's grace. This is something 
more than an apprehension of the greatness and 
glory of God as he has revealed himself to us in his 
word and works. It means that every soul that 
trusts and obeys God feels and knows that he is 
good. Not only does our Heavenly Father speak 
to us in his word and in his works, but he speaks 
directly to the soul by his Spirit. The witness is 
within us. Thus it was with the author of the 
text: "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard 
him and delivered him out of all his troubles." That 
is, he prayed and God heard and answered his 
prayer. How could he know that God heard him 
unless he had answered? Do you know what it 
means to have a prayer answered? A cry on earth, 
an answer in heaven. Is there anything like this 
in this life of ours on earth? I used to wonder 
when a boy what was meant by getting the answer, 
as my mother, speaking softly with a peculiar light 
in her loving eyes, would say God had answered 
her prayer. When she would come from her secret 
devotions, with radiant face and wet eyes, I saw 
that she had been' conversing with God, that she 
had got the answer. That is the way to taste for 

186 Upper Room Meditations. 

3. I had thought of speaking under different 
heads of prayer, faith, and obedience as channels 
of grace; but I cannot dissociate them. There is 
no real prayer without faith; there is no faith with- 
out obedience. They do so interblend that in 
treating them separately we may seem to put 
asunder that which God hath joined together. The 
root, the trunk, the branches, and the fruit all make 
one tree; so faith, obedience, and love make one 
Christian life. Every earnest movement of the 
soul toward God draws his grace toward it. 
Thus the believing, obedient soul continually tastes 
and sees that the Lord is good. When we speak 
oi the means of grace, this is what we mean: that 
grace flows into the channels provided by the good- 
ness of our God; prayer, praise, worship, service. If 
you would enjoy the goodness of God, keep these 
channels open. The wells in some of the Califor- 
nia towns require that the water in them should 
be frequently pumped off to keep them pure 
and sweet. The clear crystal stream is struck far 
down in the gravel that underlies the alluvial 
nearer the surface, the "seapage" from which, 
brackish and impure, constantly flows in to defile 
the well. So there is a constant influx of world- 
ly influence to dilute and defile our religious ex- 

The Test. 187 

perience unless we keep the pump of prayer busy 
pumping the water of life from the deep wells of 

4. The philosophy of religion is the inductive 
philosophy, "knowledge derived from experiment, 
in contradiction from theory." The only way to 
know is to do. The only means by which you can 
know the peculiar flavor of an orange is to taste it. 
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the 
doctrine." This is the condition: Experience, not 
theory. The text is the language of experience, 
and is a challenge to all the world. Taste and see. 
The gospel makes this challenge to-day. There 
are many voices that are crying in the hearing of 
the world: "Taste and see." Pleasure presents 
her poisoned cup to the young and invites the 
taste. Passion excites many to drink eagerly, 
madly, and they find death at the bottom of the 
cup. Curiosity prompts many to drink of the for- 
bidden cup. O the fatal fascination of the mystery 
of sin! Unlawful curiosity was the original sin. 
Our first parents would not resist the temptation 
to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of 
good and evil. Multitudes of young people take 
the first step toward hell from curiosity. The cup 
of sin is presented; they are curious to know how 

1 88 Upper Room Meditattons. 

it tastes, they press it to their lips and perish. 
Chemists tell you that prussic acid is a deadly poi- 
son, but it is better that you take his word for it 
than to take the poison in order to discover its 
taste and effects. It is surely unwise for a clean 
person to roll in the mud in order to find how 
mud feels. Leave the mud to the pigs. Keep 
out of it, young men — the mud of profanity, the 
mud of gambling, the mud of falsehood, the mud 
of licentiousness. We all know that fire will burn. 
Nobody will think it wise to thrust his hand into 
the fire to learn how it feels to be burned. Better 
take the word of God for it that sin destroys. Poi- 
son kills and fire burns. Do you believe it? Sur- 
vey the ten thousand moral wrecks all around you. 
See them in the mire, never to get out. See them 
coming out of the fires of sin, scorched and scarred. 
I tell you they always come out of the fires of sin 
scorched and scarred. An unmaimed, unpolluted 
manhood is a glorious thing. It is a great mercy 
to get out of the fires of sin, but it is a blessed thing 
to keep out. When sin presents her cup, decline 
to taste. There is death in it. Do not even taste. 
A little poison is a bad thing. Sin is a fire hard to 
quench; it burns to the lowest hell. Let it not 
kindle upon your soul. 

The Test. 189 

5. There is no risk in accepting the challenge to 
taste and see that the Lord is good. No man ever 
regretted being truly religious. The author of 
this text is supposed to be David. He was a com- 
petent witness. He had seen life in many phases, 
and tested his religion under widely varying cir- 
cumstances. It had hallowed and brightened his 
joys in his day of prosperity; it had given him for- 
titude under the pressure of adversity; it had com- 
forted him in his day of sorrow; it had inspired 
him with the loftiest courage in the hour of dan- 
ger. He had found it adequate to all emergencies. 
In its blessed fruits he had found no discount upon 
its promises. At all times and under all circum- 
stances he had found it good. And with this ex- 
perience, and from the holy height of religious joy 
to which he had attained, he lifts his voice in tri- 
umph and invites all the world to the feast where 
his soul had been fed with the bread of heaven. 
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." 

This is the sum of the teaching of this text. Be 
religious because you can. Pray because your 
prayer will be heard and answered. Obey, because 
you can obey, and because your obedience will be 
accepted and crowned with a blessing from God. 
"Taste, and see." This is the voice of God by his 

190 Upper Room Meditations. 

Word. This is the voice of the Spirit speaking in 
its still small voice to your hearts. This is the voice 
of the Church. Hear this voice now. Accept the 
gracious invitation by beginning the new life. Or 
if you are a wanderer from God, come back to him 
now and be blessed. 



" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matt. xxii. 


Imperative Mood, Present Tense. j 

When a command is given, our attention and 
respect are given to it in proportion to the author- 
ity and power of the personage by whom it is is- 
sued. A mandate issued by a king, a president, or 
governor commands at once universal attention 
and respect. The text is a command — not from 
an earthly potentate, not from an emperor, czar, 
king, president, or governor; but from the God of 
heaven and earth, the Creator and Ruler of the 
universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It 
comes from God through the lips of our Lord Je- 
sus Christ. Coming from and through such a 
source, it demands our serious and prayerful atten- 

Let us consider the meaning of the command. 

i. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart." The heart is the seat of the affections, 
the emotional part of our nature. To love the 
Lord with all the heart simply means that he must 
be the Supreme Object of affection. Not that we 
should love nothing but God, but that every other 
affection should be exercised in subordination to 
this controlling, supreme affection for our Heaven- 
n 093) 

194 Upper Room Meditations. 

ly Father. God has given us no capacity for affec- 
tion which he does not intend shall be exercised 
and developed to the utmost. He has not mocked 
us by giving us passions merely to tantalize us and 
make us miserable. The relations of husband and 
wife, of parent and child, of brother and sister, are 
relations established, regulated, and sanctified by 
God, and the affection that belongs to these sev- 
eral relations is approved by him and is intended 
to promote the happiness of mankind. We can- 
not love them too much; the idolatry of human 
affection is not in the extent, but in the character 
of the affection. It is not that we love too much, 
k but that we love without reference to God. These 
endearing relationships are of his appointment, the 
objects of our human affection are the gifts of his 
goodness, and should lead us in grateful affection 
to the gracious Giver. Thus the more you are 
blessed with human love, the more you will love 
God; the more human love is exercised and devel- 
oped, the more will be developed a supreme affec- 
tion for the kind Heavenly Father, who is the Giv- 
er of every good and perfect gift. This is to love 
God with all the heart — with our best, highest 
love. This love is constant, not an occasional 
burst of enthusiasm, not a transient blaze now and 

Imperative Mood, Present Tense. 195 

then in a time of revival or religious excitement, 
but a pure, steady, continual flame. This is to love 
the Lord our God with all our hearts. 

2. "And with all thy soul." The soul is the im- 
material and immortal part of our nature. To love 
the Lord our God with all our souls means that 
our souls shall go out after God in reverence, ado- 
ration, and awe; that in contemplating the perfec- 
tions of God we shall behold supreme excellence, 
that in beholding the power, wisdom, goodness, 
and glory of God we shall recognize a divine per- 
fection, in comparison with which all other excel- 
lence shrinks into insignificance. This is to love 
the Lord our God with all our souls. 

3. "And with all thy mind." The mind, in the 
ordinary sense of the word, is that part of us which 
thinks, reasons, and reflects — the intellectual part 
of our nature. But the word "mind" sometimes is 
used to mean the will or the inclination; to have a 
mind to do a thing is to have the will or inclination 
to do it. It will bear, if it does not require, this 
meaning in the text. 

Adopting this exposition of this text, we see its 
completeness and harmony. It requires, first, that 
we love God with all our heart — that is, that we 
feel right. Secondly, that we love God with all our 

196 Upper Room Meditations. 

souls — that is, that we think right. Thirdly, that 
we love God with all our minds (will or inclina- 
tion) — that is, that we do right. In man's unfall- 
en condition all the faculties of his nature were in 
harmony, and in their legitimate exercise God was 
glorified, and man's complete and continual hap- 
piness secured. But by the fall, his whole nature 
— his affections, his intellect, and his will — became 
perverted and depraved; they no longer act rightly 
nor harmoniously. The will and the understand- 
ing, once united, are now divorced. The unregen- 
erate man thinks one thing, yet does another: 

"We know the right, and approve it too-, 
We hate the wrong, and yet the wrong pursue." 

With perhaps a large majority in Christendom 
here is the principal difficulty — in the will. They 
have a sufficient knowledge of religious truth, and 
conscience confirms its claims and obligations; but 
their wills are depraved, perverted, enfeebled, and 
they therefore fail practically to embrace and em- 
body the truth in the practice of their lives. The 
gospel of Christ furnishes the only motives and in- 
fluences to control, set right, and harmonize the 
thoughts of the soul, the affections of the heart, 
and the decisions of the will. 

This, then, is a brief definition of the first and 

Imperative Mood, Present Tense. 197 

great commandment. It is called the first because 
it embodies the groundwork, the beginning, of a 
Christian life; it is the great commandment, be- 
cause it embodies the essence, the vital element of 
all religion. On this commandment hang all the 
law and the prophets; in obeying it we meet all the 
requirements of the gospel. 

From the foregoing exposition, it will be seen 
that those who favor a merely intellectual religion 
on the one hand, and those who favor a merely 
emotional religion on the other, will find little en- 
couragement from this text. God does not ignore 
the fact that we have both heads and hearts, that 
we both think and feel. A religion all feeling would 
sink into fanaticism and superstition; a religion all 
intellect and no feeling would freeze and die in the 
bleak and barren desert of a lifeless intellectuality. 
God has given us no one-sided, fragmentary reli- 
gion; but Christianity is adapted to all the wants 
and capacities of our whole nature, makes men 
think right, feel right, and do right, for this is to 
love God with all the heart, with all the soul, and 
with all the mind. 

Let us next consider the reasonableness of this 
command. It is reasonable and right that we love 
God as required in the text, because we belong to 

198 Upper Room Meditations. 

God. He created us, and not we ourselves. We 
are God's by creation, and a claim on our supreme 
affection is thus made which none can deny. The 
creature belongs to the Creator. 

Gratitude is the most powerful of all incentives 
to affection, and this sentiment is most strongly 
appealed to in the gospel. 

To God we owe our existence and all that makes 
existence desirable. But God in Christ makes the 
most resistless appeal to the gratitude of man- 
kind. He loved us and gave himself for us; though 
he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that 
we, through his poverty, might be made rich; he 
was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for 
our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was 
upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. This 
is the philosophy of salvation: the affections of 
mankind have been alienated from God, their only 
proper, supreme Object. In the incarnation of 
our Saviour, God descended to earth, labored, suf- 
fered, and died for us, that our affections might fix 
on him; and then, ascending to the bosom of the 
Father, he carried our affections with him, that, 
thus united to God by faith, we may draw life, 
peace, and joy from him forever. By creation God 
has a rightful claim on our affection; by endowing 

Imperative Mood, Present Tense. 199 

us with infinite capacities for happiness that claim 
is strengthened; and by the incarnation, sufferings, 
and sacrificial death of Christ, a claim is made upon 
our affection that ought to be irresistible. 

Again, we should thus love the Lord our God 
because there is no other being or object worthy 
the supreme love of our souls. Our souls are im- 
mortal. They are emanations from God himself. 
Man was created in his own glorious image, and, 
though fallen and debased by sin, he still retains 
traces of the divine character, and by the will of 
God is endowed with immortality; and therefore 
no being, no object but God can be worthy of his 
supreme affection. The material universe will pass 
away — the heavens shall be rolled together as a 
scroll, the elements melt with fervent heat, the 
moon be turned to blood and the sun obliterated 
from the firmament; but thy soul will never die; it 
will live on through the eternal years of God him- 

Therefore to make the perishing objects of this 
world the objects of supreme desire and affection 
— to love money, houses, lands, worldly pleasures, 
or worldly honors — is a base and ignoble prostitu- 
tion of the immortal nature of man. The soul is 
immortal, and nothing but the God who breathed 

200 Upper Room Meditations. 

it into existence is worthy of its supreme affec- 

We should thus love God because nothing else 
can satisfy the boundless capacities of the soul. 
The soul was made for God, and nothing but God 
can satisfy its desires and fill its capacities. But 
these very endowments become, through the fatal 
blindness and perversity of mankind, the instru- 
ments for inflaming human pride and leading to 
forgetfulness of God. In this age the tendency is 
to deify the human intellect. This is the age of 
steam and electricity. Onward ! is its motto. But 
take away the light of revelation, and all would at 
once become chaos and confusion, darkness and 
uncertainty. Like an immense railroad train, dash- 
ing on in the darkness of night with fearful veloci- 
ty, without engineer or conductor, liable at any 
moment to come into collision with some obstruc- 
tion that will crush all into atoms or plunge mad- 
ly into some fearful abyss — so would this world be 
in this fast age without the Bible. Who are you, 
that you should declare your independence of God? 
Who breathed into you the breath of life? Who 
touched your mind with the divine spark o£ intel- 
ligence? From whom did you receive those very 
powers which, in your infatuation, would lead you 

Imperative Mood, Present Tense. 201 

to forget God? These endowments of the mind, 
with its capacity for illimitable progression, are 
the gifts of God; and to him therefore we should 
bow in devout gratitude and adoring love. 

Again, we should thus love God because by so 
loving him we shall be like him. What we love 
determines what we are. It is by loving God that 
we can be fully restored to his likeness and image, 
which is the design and effect of the gospel. Thus 
we are made partakers of the divine nature, 
changed into the same image from glory to glory. 
Through the eternal years of the soul's being it is 
destined to approach nearer and nearer to God 
without the possibility of ever reaching his perfec- 
tion, like those mathematical lines that seem al- 
ways approaching each other without the possibil- 
ity of ever meeting. 

Finally, we should thus love the Lord our God 
because God commands it. This is conclusive to 
the Christian. God will command nothing that is 
impossible or unreasonable. It is the highest ra- 
tionality, the most reasonable thing that can be 
conceived, to obey God. He gives no command 
which he does not give grace to obey. He appeals 
to every motive that should prompt effort, and it 
is his good pleasure that we obey all his command- 

202 Upper Room Meditations. 

ments, and particularly this first and great com- 
mandment, as embodying all the rest. 

This command can be obeyed. The affections, 
the understanding, the will may be restored to 
proper direction and vigorous and harmonious ac- 
tion, enabling us to feel right, think right, and do 
right. Replenished daily from the heavenly Foun- 
tain, our lamps, trimmed and burning, may burn 
with a pure, steady, increasing light till merged in 
the resplendent blaze of eternal glory. To which 
blessedness may we all be brought by the abound- 
ing grace of God, to whom be ascribed all glory, 
honor, and praise, both now and forever! Amen. 


Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 
in. 3.) 

Agreement with God. 

(Partly by Another Hand.) 

Everything in Christianity is in strict accord- 
ance with moral law. Order is Heaven's first law 
— first in importance, involving the stability and 
well-being of the universe. The gospel is not mere- 
ly glad tidings, but it is a law, the law for our ac- 
tion, and the law by which we shall be judged. It 
is the perfect law of liberty. In the natural world, 
God maintains order by the exercise of absolute 
authority. He enjoins order in the spiritual world, 
but does not compel obedience. We can obey or 
disobey. God leaves us free in the matter, simply 
warning us that if we disobey the laws of moral 
harmony our happiness is a moral impossibility . 

This great truth is involved or suggested in the 
text. The prophet is here reproving the Israelites 
for their disobedience to God and denouncing pun- 
ishments against them — which punishment should 
be measured in exact proportion to the privileges 
they had enjoyed, and the grace they had abused. 
The Jews thought that because they had been 
the chosen people of God and had been blessed 
with a wonderful degree of temporal prosperity 

( 2 °5) 

2o6 Upper Room Meditations. 

therefore the*y enjoyed the divine approbation. 
Their mistake was twofold: First, they supposed 
that the condition of their union with God was le- 
gal and not moral; that obedience was in the ob- 
servance of the letter of the Mosaic ritual instead 
of its spirit, preferring sacrifice to mercy. Sec- 
ondly, they -mistook temporal prosperity to be un- 
questionable evidence of the divine approval. Tem- 
poral prosperity is a blessing or a curse according 
as it is received — to the godly a blessing, to the un- 
godly a curse. 

The principle announced by the prophet is this: 
that the union between God and man must be a 
moral union. If we accord with God in feeling and 
action, he will approve us. If not, he will condemn 
us; for, "How can two walk together, except they 
be agreed?" This question appeals to conscience 
and common sense. Let us consider it with a se- 
riousness and earnestness commensurate with its 
gravity. And what question can equal this in im- 
portance: Am I in friendship with God? Is there 
moral union and harmony between him and me? 
This world and all its interests are to perish; but 
the soul, with its affinities, desires, and habits, will 
abide forever. These tastes, desires, and habits 
will eternally determine the weal or woe of us all. 

Agreement with God. 207 

If we are not agreed with God, we cannot enjoy his 
smile. If we are not like him, we cannot be with 
him. If we do not agree with God, he cannot agree 
with us. Have we this agreement ? 

But how can we determine this question? The 
infinite God shuts himself from immediate obser- 
vation, conceals from our bodily eyes the bright- 
ness of his visible presence; our minds could not 
comprehend or endure the unclouded manifesta- 
tions of his glory. Yet he has manifested himself 
in such a way that we can determine the question 
suggested by the text, whether we are in a state of 
enmity to God or of union with him. And the 
method is simple enough. 

Bodily presence is not necessary in order that 
we may know whether we harmonize in opinion 
and feeling with another individual. If he has giv- 
en expression to his opinions and feelings, that is 
enough. You may have read in the newspapers 
the expressed sentiments or public acts of some 
public character; and if these opinions and acts ex- 
press cruelty, tyranny, meanness, and falsehood, 
you feel a strong aversion to the character of that 
individual, though you may have never seen him. 
Moral sympathies and aversions may be as readily 
tested as agreement of taste in music, painting, 

208 Upper Room Meditations. 

natural scenery, oratory, or anything else. All 
that is necessary is a common object of contem- 
plation in order that we may test our agreement 
or nonagreement concerning it. This is the prin- 
ciple by which we may test whether we are agreed 
with God. And if we apply ourselves to the sub- 
ject with an earnestness commensurate with its 
magnitude, we shall reach a safe and satisfactory 

The proposition I shall attempt to prove is this: 
Unregenerate man is not at agreement with God. 
In other words, he has no moral union with him. 
His tastes, his principles, his affections are not in 
harmony with the nature and will of God. He does 
not walk with God, does not sympathize with his 
purposes. Let us consider some evidences of this 

i. The indifference of men in regard to God's 
approbation or disapprobation is itself an evidence 
of his alienation from him. This indifference is an 
extraordinary fact ; it is at once a consequence and 
a proof of man's apostasy from his Maker. What 
other cause can be assigned for this indifference? 
It cannot be a deliberate conviction that the ques- 
tion is unimportant; for it is impossible for a be- 
liever in the Bible seriously to reflect upon his po- 

Agreement with God. 209 

sition in the sight of God and his tremendous in- 
terest in eternity, and lightly dismiss the subject 
from his thoughts. No; this indifference is one of 
the fearful and mysterious effects of sin, dimming 
the soul's perception of the highest truths and 
blinding it to its highest interests, its relation to 
God and its immortal destiny. We repeat : the very 
indifference of men concerning their agreement or 
nonagreement with God is an evidence that they 
have no moral union with him, that they are 
"alienated from God by the ignorance that is in 
them." We are assuming here the truth of the Bi- 
ble doctrines of the immortality of the soul, a judg- 
ment to come, and future rewards and punish- 
ments; for if you take the Bible from us, we have 
no basis for any argument, any belief, or any hope. 
2. The opposition of the unregenerate man to 
the law of God. The prerogative of making laws 
for the government of his creatures God will exert 
all the energy of Omnipotence to maintain. The 
law of God is as dear to him as the happiness of his 
creatures and his own honor and glory, for upon 
the supremacy of his law depend the creature's 
happiness and the Creator's glory. It is said in 
the Scripture: "The carnal mind is enmity against 
God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither 

210 Upper Room Meditations. 

indeed can b*e." This statement is explicit and un- 
mistakable. And is it not true? Do not uncon- 
verted men complain of the holiness of the divine 
law, murmur on account of its strictness, and in 
their hearts rebel against its denunciations of pun- 
ishment against sin? I once heard a brother say 
in the class meeting that there was not a word in 
the Bible he would expunge or change. Can you 
with sincerity say as much? If not, you are not 
agreed with God; for every part of that word is 
dear to him. He framed the law, proclaimed it, 
and will maintain it. Men deceive themselves with 
regard to their opposition to the law of God, be- 
cause its restraint is moral, not physical. It mere- 
ly tells them that its violation is wrong, and threat- 
ens a future penalty; it does not prevent them 
from transgression by force. Sometimes men are 
punished for speaking disrespectfully of human 
governments and earthly rulers; and if in their 
minds hostility already exists, such punishment 
only' the more confirms and intensifies it. God's 
law prohibits the taking of his name in vain, and 
threatens punishment in case of disobedience; yet 
he leaves men free to disobey if they will, and 
therefore men use profane language without real- 
izing the extent of their opposition to this divine 

Agreement with God. 211 

law; they may even banish all thought of the law 
from their minds, for God does not obtrude it upon 
their unwilling notice. Suppose God were to use 
physical force, to lay a hand upon the mouth to 
check the utterance of the oath that is rising hot 
to the lips — how the heart would swell with rage 
against the law! As it is now, most swearers nei- 
ther care nor think much of God's law against pro- 
fanity. So with his law against Sabbath-breaking. 
God has said: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep 
it holy." The Sabbath-breaker may sally forth on 
Sunday morning without hindrance to desecrate 
the holy day, banishing both the law and its Au- 
thor from his mind. But suppose the Almighty 
were to meet him in the way, drag him to his home 
and shut him up in his dwelling, or drag him to the 
house of worship and keep him there during the 
service — in that case his opposition to God's law 
against Sabbath-breaking would be realized as nev- 
er before. Friend, ponder this view of the subject 
well; for if you do not in your heart approve God's 
law, you are not agreed with him. 

3- The choice of companions is another test of 
our agreement with God. Are our preferences 
such as God approves? Do I love goodness for its 
own sake? God loves holiness, humility, faith, 

212 Upper Room Meditations. 

penitence, prayerfulness. He says in his word: 
"To this man will I look, even to him that is poor 
and of a contrite heart." This is the man that God 
loves, these are the qualities that are precious in 
his sight. To the possessor of these features of 
character he speaks with infinite tenderness; "he 
would pass by thrones and senates to wipe away 
one tear from that eye and comfort that broken 
heart." Are you agreed with God in this? Look 
at Lazarus at the rich man's gate. His exterior is 
not attractive; he is poor, friendless, a cripple and 
a beggar. Yet he is a good man. His views are 
God's views; his sympathies are in harmony with 
God's; he submits cheerfully to his sufferings be- 
cause God has permitted them to visit him; he re- 
joices that he is able to suffer the will of God. 
There is nothing attractive in this man to the eye 
of the world. But he is loved of God, who sends 
angels to watch over him in his dying hour, and to 
bear his free and happy soul to paradise. Are you 
here agreed with God? Or would you prefer the 
rich man, possessed of everything desirable and ad- 
mirable but religion? "We know that we have 
passed from death unto life because we love the 
brethren." In speaking of the pious, God says: "In 
them is all my delight." What says your heart? 

Agreement with God. 213 

Do you admire genius more than goodness? Do 
you prefer wealth, talent, culture to simple holi- 
ness without these? Then your preference is not 
God's preference; you are not agreed with him. 

4. Love to enemies is another test of agreement 
with God. Some think this is impossible. If so, 
no man can be agreed with God; for this is one of 
the most prominent features of the divine charac- 
ter. God loves his enemies; we are required to 
wear God's moral image; grace is promised to en- 
able us to do so; therefore we must love our ene- 
mies. Have you an enemy, one who has slandered 
you, injured you in property or otherwise? Do 
you love this enemy? If not, you are not agreed 
with God, for God loves him, though he may be 
his enemy too. "God so loved the world" — the 
world of sinners — "that he gave his only-begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not 
perish, but have everlasting life." He sacrificed 
his Son to secure the salvation of men. The mar- 
vel of this love is, that it was love to his enemies. 
"God commendeth his love to us >,jfkthat while we 
were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly." 
Are you agreed with God in this? Does this work 
appear worthy of him? Does the work of saving 
men seem to you more important than any other? 

214 Upper Room Meditations. 

or does pleasure, profit, or honor more engage 
your esteem and desire? Ponder the question well, 
for it is a test question. If you are not more con- 
cerned for your own salvation and for the salvation 
of others than for the interests of time, you are cer- 
tainly not agreed with God, for with him the spir- 
itual salvation of men is the paramount considera- 
tion concerning them. 

5. Submission to the providence of God is an- 
other test of agreement with him. What God does 
is right. What he permits must be best. The man 
whose judgment has been clarified by the teach- 
ings of God's word knows this to be true. The man 
whose soul has known the saving power and con- 
scious comfort of the Holy Spirit feels it to be 
true. The mysteries of God's providential deal- 
ings are not understood; but he waits on God, 
trusting the promise that what he knows not now 
he shall know hereafter, "trusting God where he 
cannot trace himself." 

6. Another and final test is the disposition of 
the heart toward Christ. And this test, fairly ap- 
plied, is conclusive. It determines the question be- 
yond doubt or controversy. "What think ye of 
Christ?" He is the only-begotten and well-be- 
loved Son of the Father. The testimony borne to 

Agreement with God. 215 

him everywhere is this: "This is my beloved Son, 
in whom I am well pleased." God says he is well 
pleased in Christ. What do you say? Look at 
him as he lies in the manger; hear him in reproofs, 
denunciations, and threatenings of sin; hear him 
rebuking the self-complacency of the young ruler, 
who thought himself almost ready for heaven; see 
him as he hangs upon the cross; see him in the day 
of judgment, coming in the clouds of heaven to 
judge the world, separating the good from the bad; 
see Jesus, poor, despised, persecuted, a man of sor- 
rows and acquainted with grief; see him scorned, 
crucified — and what think you of him? God says 
that he has "raised him from the dead, and set him 
at his own right-hand in the heavenly places, far 
above all principality, and power, and might, and 
dominion, and every name that is named, not only 
in this world, but also in that which is to come: 
and hath put all things under his feet;" that he 
has "given him a name which is above every name: 
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
. . . and that every tongue should confess." Thus 
God exalts Christ. Do you thus exalt him? If not, 
you are not agreed with God. When the gospel 
is faithfully preached, Jesus is presented as cruci- 
fied for man's redemption. Yet how many are in- 

216 Upper Room Meditations. 

different, how many stumble at the doctrine of the 
cross! Under such preaching you have been 
aroused to feel your dependence upon Christ and 
your need of his mediation; you saw pardon and 
peace offered to you in his name and through his 
blood; you were almost persuaded to be a Christian. 
But you could not give up your idols; you decided 
in your heart that you could not choose Christ and- 
renounce the world. You remember that time; 
you recall the deep anxiety that weighed down 
your soul; how near God seemed to you, and what 
a view you had of a bleeding Saviour lifting his 
hands and calling you to come to his heart of love. 
And ye would not, thus showing that you are not 
agreed with God. 

The question of the text must address itself tc 
the judgment of all: "How can two walk together, 
except they be agreed?" If you cannot abide the 
tests presented, how can God walk with you, how 
can he bless you as his child if you do not love him 
as your Father? To bless you with his favor while 
you are disobedient to his holy law; to save you 
while you reject Christ ; to take you into holy and 
blessed communion with himself with a nature un- 
holy, earthly, sensual — this is a moral impossibili- 
ty. God cannot save you in your sins without ab- 

Agreement with God. 217 

dicating the throne of moral government. Intel- 
lect, accomplishments, wealth are nothing in the 
sight of him who looketh upon the heart and re- 
quireth truth in the inward parts. "These cannot 
bribe nor dazzle the perfect eye of eternal Purity 
and Justice." 

If you have no sympathy with God in the par- 
ticulars mentioned, let me ask solemnly and affec- 
tionately: "What would you do in heaven?" What 
is heaven? Happy, intimate, perfect communion 
with God. The good are taken thither, that their 
communion with God and vision of God may be 
complete. Would this be heaven to you? If you 
know nothing here of the delight which prayer af- 
fords, if you know nothing of the fellowship of the 
saints on earth, what will heaven be to you? It will 
be a heaven without a God, without society to you. 
There God gathers around him his children — those 
who have loted, served, and honored him, who have 
labored for his glory and maintained his cause. 
What will yoti do with them? Will you sit down 
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom 
of heaven to talk of money, of lustful indulgence, 
of your scheme^ of ambition? Will you talk to the 
saints in the ligfit, the valiant champions of truth, 
who fought the^good fight of faith and conquered 

218 Upper Room Meditations. 


by the blood of the Lamb, will you talk to them 
of billiards, cards, of horse-racing? Will you talk 
to angels and glorified spirits of the things that en- 
gage you now — of dress, of the faults and failings 
of your neighbors? God has prepared the good 
things above for them that love him, and none else 
can enjoy them. "How can two walk together, ex- 
cept they be agreed?" God has prepared no heav- 
en for any but the holy. 

A mother who had lost a sweet little child not 
long before said to me : "O sir, I am afraid I cannot 
be good enough to meet my dear child in heaven." 
What a solemn thought! If you were called on 
+ his day to bid an eternal adieu to all your religious 
relatives and friends and to abandon the hope of 
ever seeing again the loved and lost, could you do 
so without regret? Yet unless there is agreement 
of moral disposition it will be so. 

Think of this subject. Pray over it, You must 
take your position and choose your relationships 
for eternity. 


Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet 
appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall 
appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he 
is. " (i John iii. 2.) 

We Know. 

The present privilege of believers is sonship 
with God. We know — this is the keynote of this 
whole Epistle. The holy John had gotten above 
the region of doubt, speculation, and guessing into 
that of knowledge. 

i. We may know that we are the sons of God 
now by the witness of the Holy Spirit bearing 
witness with our spirit that we are the children of 
God. Our love of the brethren certifies the same 
blessed fact : "We know that we have passed from 
death unto life, because we love the brethren." 
"We know," says the Christian. "We doubt," says 
the skeptic. "We deny," says the infidel. "We 
despair," says the baffled philosopher, who walks 
in darkness. 

2. We know further, that Christ shall appear. 
It is assumed here and explicitly stated elsewhere. 
This is a gracious, glorious certainty to the true 

3. We know that we shall be like him. Who 

can picture this likeness? Like him — like him in 

our glorified body, like him in our emancipated 


222 Upper Room Meditations. 

intellects, like him in spiritual purity, like him in 
happiness without alloy. 

4. We shall see him as he is, and this vision of 
God will be assimilative. The contemplation of 
excellence is always so. It is measurably so in this 
life; it will be perfectly so in the next. "I shall be 
satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness," said an 
Old Testament saint. God himself is our ideal; 
we shall be lifted toward that ideal, and we shall 
be satisfied at every stage of our progress. 

Satisfied! O, it is a great word; but ours is a 
great salvation. 


Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit." (Matt. vii. 

The Good Tree. 

These seven words of Jesus affirm a truth of the 
profoundest significance — namely, that character 
is the basis of conduct; that what we are deter- 
mines what we do; that out of the heart flows the 
life; and that therefore the one supreme object of 
a human life is the proper formation of character. 

It has been well said that Christian education is 
the formation of character on Christian principles. 
This truth, affirmed in this text, is a fundamental 
principle of Christianity. Life develops from with- 
in; out of the heart are the issues of life. If you 
would have good fruit, you must first make a good 
tree. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of 

The root of Christian life is faith. Faith is be- 
lief in God as he is revealed in the Lord Jesus 
Christ. It is the belief of the heart— that is to say, 
the choice of the will. This is the most solemn 
and momentous act of a human life; it is that trans- 
action by which a human soul becomes united to 
Christ and is thenceforth a living branch of that 
Living Vine. This union takes place when your 
willingness meets his willingness. This is the 
is ( 22 5) 

226 Upper Room Meditations. 

sweet, glad gospel of Christ, the gospel of the new 
birth that begins the new life. To some this ex- 
perience comes so early and so gently that the day, 
the week, or the year could not be fixed. Born 
and reared under happy conditions, with gracious 
heredity and favorable environment, their early 
conversion was as noiseless as the budding and 
blooming of the spring roses. To others it may 
have come at a later period when the moral revo- 
lution was more distinct to their own conscious- 
ness, and the memory of which will be precious to 
them forever. Let your willingness to follow 
Christ meet his willingness to receive you, and the 
vital union between you and him is then and there 
established. The principle of a new life is imparted, 
a new life that shall interpenetrate, rule, guide, and 
glorify your life forever. This is the beginning. 
Other foundation can no man lay. Faith opens 
the door and lets Christ into the heart. Is there 
any mystery here that you would have me explain 
more clearly? I can explain it only as I can ex- 
plain any other phenomena of life. I cannot ex- 
plain the principle of life in a tree, but the fact is 
plain enough: the trunk, the branches, the blos- 
soms, the foliage, the fruit show there is a living 
tree. So the fruit of a Christian life demonstrates 

The Good Tree. 227 

a living Christianity. A healthy, growing tree 
seems almost to rejoice in conscious life as its 
leaves flutter in the breeze and its branches bend 
under the weight of the ripened fruit. The true 
Christian, born of the Spirit, and in vital union 
with the Lord Jesus Christ, rejoices in conscious 
spiritual life; and, whether he can explain it to an- 
other person or not, he knows that there is a super- 
natural element in his life that gives it a new di- 
rection and power, and makes him a new creature 
in Christ Jesus. Begin here. If you have already 
made this good beginning, now, by a fresh conse- 
cration, ratify that decisive act and receive a fresh 
and fuller inflow of the life of God into your life. 
If you have not hitherto done this, do it now. Put. 
your hand into Christ's hand for time and for eter- 
nity. Take the Lord Jesus Christ into full partner- 
ship. Take him into your heart by this simple, sin- 
cere, unreserved act of choice; and then he will be 
with you always; he will go with you where you 
go, and stay with you where you stay. Take Christ 
fully into your life. He is knocking at the door; 
lift the bolt and let it fly wide open that he may 
enter and bring light and love, truth and grace. 
This is the beginning. Begin here; begin now. 
Thus you see that faith is the root of the Tree 

228 Upper Room Meditations. 

of Christian Character, and we are ready to con- 
sider the next point — the growth of the tree. 
Conversion precedes culture. Birth first, growth 
afterwards, is the natural order. 

When you plant a fruit-bearing tree, you do not 
plant it out on the open common; you plant it 
within an inclosed orchard or garden where you 
can protect it, cultivate it, prune it, and train it in 
its growth. So the tree of Christian character 
should be planted within the inclosure of the 
Church, which is fenced off from the world by wise 
and gracious regulations. Every Christian, young 
or old, should be a member of the Church. The 
3hurch is God's own agency for the salvation of 
the world. To despise or neglect the Church is to 
neglect and despise Jesus Christ, the Head of the 
Church. Plant the tree, and let it strike its roots 
deep within the inclosure designed for it. This 
signifies permanency of connection. Thus planted, 
the believer "shall be like a tree planted by the 
rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his 
season." (Ps. i. 3.) 

The making of a tree may seem to be an easy 
matter. It has nothing to do but just to grow. 
But it may not be as easy as you think. First, you 
must have a seed or a germ; then you must have 

The Good Tree. 229 

proper soil; then you must have the air, the sun- 
shine, the rain, and the changing seasons; then 
you must have certain chemical processes for the 
assimilation of the elements that compose it; and 
last of all, you must have time. Growing is not a 
lazy thing even for a tree. I have stood awe-struck 
and wondering in the midst of the Mammoth 
Grove, the Washingtonia Gigantea, in California. 
Gazing upward, up, up, up, more than three hun- 
dred feet, so high that the tallest poplar in Virgin- 
ia or Tennessee would not reach its first branches, 
its trunk nearly or quite one hundred feet in cir- 
cumference, I have thought of the time and labor 
required for its growth from the tiny seed or little 
bulb from which it started. The sap that nourishes 
the topmost twig had to be pumped up from the 
ground more than one hundred yards below. Is 
pumping easy work? Just try it for five or six 
hours at a stretch and see. The chemical processes 
by which the growth of the tree is carried on re- 
quire the incessant activity of the subtle yet po- 
tent forces employed. Though silent, the energy 
exerted is immense. Then the sap that is pumped 
up must be pumped back again. Nor must we for- 
get that the warmth that started the sap and kept 
it in circulation had to travel a distance of more 

230 Upper Room Meditations. 

than ninety millions of miles. You catch the anal- 
ogy? Planted in the soil of this world, you grow 
just where God has planted you. The fair flower 
and sweet fruits of the Christian life bloom and 
grow and ripen in the midst of the every day ex- 
periences of our lives, while the light and warmth 
requisite for spiritual growth come from that eter- 
nal Sun of Righteousness that floods the moral 
universe with its glory. 

Let us change the figure, but not lose sight of 
the point in hand. Consider the growth of your 
own body. The simultaneous growth of the whole 
organism is a wonder. The mysterious principle 
"f life is there to start with. Each hand, each fin- 
ger, each side of the face, each eye, each ear, grows 
with all the rest. If it were otherwise, what mon- 
sters of deformity would result! One limb short 
and the other long, one eye large and the other 
small, one side of the face longer than the other 
side — what grotesque and ugly creatures we would 
be! God sees a sadder sight than that: he sees 
the dwarfed, deformed spirits of men and women, 
who are crippled, blinded, deaf, stunted, because 
they have violated the laws of spiritual life and 
health and growth. There is, St. Paul tells us, a 
natural body, and there is a spiritual body. The 

The Good Tree. 231 

natural body in its perfect development is God's 
own model of physical perfection. He glorified it 
in the incarnation. Of all that is known to us this 
side of the world of spirits, the perfect human body 
is the most beautiful. When utterly broken and 
debased by sin nothing is so hideous. There is a 
spiritual body — the body you are forming here 
day by day. The spiritual body — what does that 
mean? In that wonderful fifteenth chapter of his 
First Epistle to the Corinthians St. Paul gives us 
one side of the matter. He tells us what is to be 
the nature and capacity of the spiritual body of the 
redeemed after the resurrection; it is to be immor- 
tal, incorruptible, endued with tremendous energy. 
Sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorrup- 
tion; sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power; 
sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual 
body. Spirituality, immortality, incorruptibility, 
power — these are the very things we want. Noth- 
ing, however, is said concerning the resurrection 
body of the wicked. This silence is ominous. 
They too have spiritual bodies that they will carry 
with them forever. Physical beauty and spiritual 
beauty have an unmistakable correlation, but are 
not identical. The law of natural heredity some- 
times puts an ugly soul into a beautiful body, and 

232 Upper Room Meditations. 

vice versa, in this world. But every observer knows 
that evil passion is a sure destroyer of physical 
beauty. Shakespeare's witches are as ugly as they 
are wicked. Early in my California life I met a 
woman of surpassing beauty; among a thousand 
women the beholder would have stopped to look 
at her and ask her name. Twenty years afterwards 
I met her again. She was then in prison, a mur- 
deress, broken in body, the marks of ungoverned 
passion on every feature of her once beautiful face. 
She was a monster of ugliness — the ugliness of sin. 
If you take Sin as the companion of your life, she 
will transform you into her own image; the evil 
passion in the soul will find expression in the face, 
and hell will be mirrored in the baleful light of the 
wicked eyes. On the other hand, the beauty of 
holiness anticipates in a measure the transfigura- 
tion that shall conform the glorified body to the 
glorified spirit of the child of God. I have seen 
the human form dilate and the human face shine 
under the afflatus of the Holy Ghost in seasons of 
Pentecostal power in the Church, and I have been 
awed and thrilled by the visible reflection of the 
divine presence. But I have seen a still more im- 
pressive demonstration of divine power and grace 
in the transfiguring touches that clothed saintly 

The Good Tree. 233 

women with unearthly beauty in the midst of sor- 
row and pain, though the passing years had taken 
the bloom from their cheeks, the sparkle from 
their eyes, and the roundness and elasticity from 
their wasting frames. The heavenly beauty of the 
souls within was reflected in their faces, and as the 
partition walls grew thinner the light broke 
through, their worn bodies shining with foregleams 
of the glory they will put on when mortality shall 
finally be swallowed up of life. This is the beauty 
of holiness — not t the beauty of color or form or 
carriage, but a beauty that has a subtler quality 
and a diviner glory, the beauty reflected from our 
Immanuel's face. It is the beauty of souls born of 
the Spirit, disciplined by pain, chastened by sor- 
row, and ripened for heaven in the sunshine of the 

I have already said that time is a necessary fac- 
tor in the growth of a tree. The processes of na- 
ture cannot be hurried; if you hurry them, you 
spoil them. A tree must make wood before it can 
make fruit. The process requires time. I saw in 
California a dwarf pear tree three feet high, its 
branches loaded with pears. But it never grew any 
more — it was dwarfed beyond remedy. The laws 
of growth are as inexorable as they are beautiful. 

234 Upper Room Meditations. 

The processes of grace in the development of a 
true Christian life are orderly: "First the blade, 
then the ear, then the full corn in the- ear." God 
is patient with us; let us be patient with our- 
selves and with one another. Let young Christians 
be young Christians; let them feel like young 
Christians; let them pray like young Christians. 
Do not put them into a strait-jacket. The young 
tree must make wood before it can make fruit. 
Let it grow and develop according to the law of 
its life. An oak does not grow in a hothouse like 
a floral exotic. It grows in the open air, meeting 
all the changes of the seasons — spring, summer, 
autumn, winter. In the activities of the Christian 
life — in reading and hearing the word of God, in 
secret prayer, in religious conversation, in helping 
the needy, and in all the ministrations of affection 
and philanthropy — the young disciple grows into 
the image of his Lord and brings forth fruit unto 
the honor and glory of God. 

The law of habit asserts its power in the evolu- 
tion of a true Christian life. If we study the laws 
of God and put ourselves in right relation to them, 
we shall find that in all cases they work for our 
good. The habit of regular prayer makes prayer 
delightful. The habit of faith makes faith easy. 

The Good Tree. 235 

The habit of hopefulness makes it more and more 
the uniform temper of the soul. The habit of pa- 
tience strengthens patience until it has done its 
perfect work and attains its highest maximum, 
the believer running with patience the race set be- 
fore him, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finish- 
er of his faith, the beginning and the end, the first 
and the last. Make habit thus your friend now, 
and it will bless you forever. 

The Fruit. The end of a fruit-bearing tree is 
fruit. An oak, maple, or elm is designed for shade, 
but when you plant a peach tree you want peaches. 
If you do not get peaches, the tree is a failure. The 
true end of all Christian culture is fruit. We are 
not left in doubt as to what this fruit is. St. Paul 
tells us: "The fruit of the Spirit" — not the fruits of 
the Spirit, there being such unity in the operations 
and results of grace in the heart that the whole 
work is spoken of in the singular number — "the 
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temper- 
ance." That is to say: The graces that in their 
aggregated influence and results make true Chris- 
tian character and constitute the blessedness and 
glory of the Christian life are the fruit of the Spirit , 
that worketh in us to will and to do according to 

236 Upper Room Meditations. 

God's good pleasure. We work because God 
works in us. Paul plants and Apollos waters, and 
God gives the increase. Therefore where there is 
sincerity, success is certain. We can do all things 
through Christ which strengtheneth us. Your en- 
deavor, however weak in itself, brings in the help 
of God; and the two conjoined have never failed. 


Quench not the Spirit." (i Thess. v. 19.) 

Beware I 

Here is a warning tender as a mother's heart, 
solemn as the judgment seat of God — Beware! 
The Holy Spirit is the immediate Author of spirit- 
ual life in the hearts of Christians. Distinct per- 
sonal attributes and acts are ascribed to him. He 
speaks, he teaches, he reproves, he makes interces- 
sion for the saints, he helps their infirmities. He 
is grieved. Apostles are set apart by him to the 
work of the ministry, and he appoints them to that 
work. "He searcheth all things, yea, the deep 
things of God." The Holy Spirit leads the respon- 
sive and willing soul to salvation. It is the office of 
the Holy Spirit to enlighten, to quicken, to regen- 
erate, to sanctify, to strengthen, to comfort — in a 
word, to enable the believer to triumph over the 
world, the flesh, and the devil, to fight the good 
fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life. Abun- 
dant Scripture texts might be cited in support of 
what is here said of the Holy Spirit as the immedi- 
ate author of the spiritual life of believers. These 
texts need not be quoted here, as they are doubt- 
less familiar to most of the readers for whom this 
Meditation is written. 

( 2 39) 

240 Upper Room Meditations. 

It is a solemn and fearful truth that the Holy 
Spirit, without whose help the sinner cannot take 
the first step toward the kingdom of heaven, may 
be driven from the soul. In the significant lan- 
guage of this text, that influence may be 
'"quenched." The word describes the process of 
extinguishing fire by water. The Holy Spirit is the 
light of life burning in the soul; the text tells us 
that this light may be quenched. How this may be 
done is an important inquiry. 

1. This light may be smothered. A fire may be 
kindled, and may begin to burn, yet be quenched 
by heaping on it incombustible material. The 
flame will be smothered and die. So the Spirit may 
be quenched in the soul. Persons who feel the 
touch of the Holy Spirit may partially yield, and 
the heavenly guide is ready to lead; but they ven- 
ture within the range of adverse influences, they go 
into improper company, they allow the pursuit of 
pleasure or ambition to engross all their thoughts 
and all their time — and thus they quench the Spirit, 
smother with worldly cares, excitements, and vani- 
ties the light of life. 

2. This light may be quenched by indulgence in 
sin. There are certain noxious gases that immedi- 
ately extinguish any flame they touch. So will sin 

Beware! 241 

quench the Holy Spirit in the soul. That Spirit — 
the Holy Spirit — will not dwell in the heart pol- 
luted by sin. The soul may feel the gracious mov- 
ings of the Spirit, the mind may be solemn and 
thoughtful, the heart may be broken and contrite, 
and the whole moral nature brought under the in- 
fluence of the Spirit; but yielding to temptation the 
divine law is willfully broken, the voice of con- 
science is unheeded, and immediately there is a 
sensible alteration of thought and feeling. If these 
acts of sin are persisted in, darkness, coldness, and 
deadness supervene; the Spirit is quenched. He 
that would not quench the Spirit must avoid sin. 

3. This light may be quenched by neglect. A fire 
may be kindled and then suffered to go out by neg- 
lect. So with the Holy Spirit in the soul. When 
he enters the soul, his presence must be cherished, 
his warnings heeded, his suggestions adopted 
and acted upon. A contrary course will quench 
the Spirit. To neglect this great salvation is to 
lose it. 

Quench not the Spirit! O heed the solemn in- 
junction, ye believers that have been born of the 
Spirit. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, 
they are the sons of God." "Walk in the Spirit," 

as the apostle entreats, and you will walk safely. 

242 Upper Room Meditations. 

The light that is in you will shine more and more 
to the perfect day. 

Quench not the Spirit! O sinner, listen to this 
warning. This faithful friend has followed you 
long. When forced by your sin and neglect to de- 
part he has chosen some propitious hour to return. 
Does he follow you still? If so, listen to his voice 
now, lest he take a sorrowful but final departure. 
Quench not the Spirit! 


" Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." 
(Jas. iv. 8.) 

Coming into Touch. 

A deep thinker has said: "The profoundest con- 
viction of an awakened soul is the fact of its sepa- 
ration from God." This fact is not realized by the 
nnawakened sinner. At best his consciousness of it 
is so vague that it produces but little effect upon 
his mind, and as little upon his life. The man who 
is in the stupor of a deadly disease or the delir- 
ium of a raging fever loses his natural physical ap- 
petites, and only recovers them with the returning 
health. So with the sinful soul: it is diseased, en- 
feebled, perverted, asleep — yea, in the strong, figu- 
rative language of Scripture, dead — dead to truth, 
to holiness, to God. His whole moral nature an- 
tagonizes the nature and will of God. But he does 
not realize this; he may assent to it as a doctrine of 
theology he has been taught to believe; but he does 
not feel it until he is quickened by the Spirit of life. 
Then, as the reviving convalescent calls for his 
natural food, so the awakened soul asks for its 
proper food, its chief good; it cries out for the liv- 
ing God, it hungers and thirsts for the bread and 
water of life. This is the first indication of spiritual 
life, and the first step toward the recovery of 


246 Upper Room Meditations. 

spiritual health. The soul was made for God, and 
cannot be happy without his favor. The immortal 
soul can no more be happy without God than could 
our mortal frames be sustained and enjoy health 
and vigor from breathing nothing but air, or from 
swallowing only poisons. The prophet uses this 
very figure in expostulating with his foolish and 
wretched countrymen who had forsaken God — who 
had left the Fountain of living waters, and hewn 
out for themselves broken cisterns that could hold 
no water. God is the living Fountain of pure and 
endless felicity. The enjoyments of sense, the 
pleasures of the world, are mere cisterns, and 
broken cisterns at that — limited in capacity, arti- 
ficial contrivances that are constantly liable to 
contract impurity, and get out of repair — poor 
cisterns indeed, whose supply is uncertain, whose 
waters become stagnant and poisonous, and which 
soon decay and become incapable of holding any 
water at all. Such are the things of earth, con- 
trasted with the soul's true good, which is God. 
Broken cisterns! Who does not know what this 
means? That man who made honor his idol and 
the object of pursuit, and has outlived all his am- 
bitions, hopes, and schemes, and is approaching old 
age and the grave a disappointed, soured, miser- 

Coming into Touch. 247 

able misanthrope; that sensualist who made pleas- 
ure his idol, but who has outlived the enjoyments 
of youth, and found satiety and disgust, and who is 
descending to his grave in the bitter conviction 
that all is vanity here, but with no assurance of 
something better beyond; the poor lover of riches, 
who has spent his noblest powers and put forth his 
best energies to make money, and is hastening to 
the grave, after all, poor and miserable, cheated by 
the world, and unblessed of Heaven; the poor 
devotee of dress and fashion, who has frittered 
away the best part of a lifetime in these puer- 
ilities — these all know what the broken cistern is 
that can hold no water. But alas! how strangely 
reluctant they are to go to the Fountain of living 
water! They hew to themselves broken cisterns 
— not one, but many fruitless experiments in 
search of happiness, one folly succeeding another, 
one false light after another luring them on until 
death closes the scene. "Why," demands the 
prophet, "do you spend your money for that which 
is not bread, and your labor for that which satis- 
iieth not?" These cisterns hold no water securely; 
but even if they did, that water could not satisfy 
the soul of man. It is a common saying that the 
more a man gets the more he wants. "He that 

248 Upper Room Meditations. 

heaps up riches shall not be satisfied with riches." 
Sinful pleasure does not satisfy, but its votary either 
recoils in disgust or is inflamed with the torment 
of insatiable desire. The honors of the world never 
satisfied the worldling. The philosophy of these 
things the men of the world do not consider or un- 
derstand. It is this: The soul is greater than all 
material things combined; it was made in the image 
of God, is immortal, and capable of enjoying God 
forever, and never until the last link that connects 
it with religious hope is broken, the last cord that 
draws it heavenward severed, can it be satisfied, 
though it may grasp all that this world gives or 
promises to give. The soul will not be cheated of 
its true riches without a protest. So it clamors 
for more, sighs for something better in the midst of 
earth's dearest delights, looks above and beyond for 
something nobler and more enduring though sur- 
rounded with all the honors of the world. The de- 
sire to turn from these dead idols to the living God 
is the first sign of spiritual life. 

This sense of separation from God is preliminary 
to drawing nigh to him. Man is far from God in 
the sense that the creature is far froiR the infinite 
and all-perfect Creator, but as a sinner he is at a 
moral distance from God. He is "fat from God by 

Coming into Touch. 249 

wicked works," the fruit of a wicked heart. Our 
Lord Jesus Christ himself illustrates this by the 
parable of the prodigal son. The gulf of separa- 
tion between God and a thoroughly sinful soul is 
as wide as that which divides heaven from hell. 
Holiness makes heaven; sin is hell. But that gulf 
may be bridged. The sinner may draw nigh to 
God, and God will draw nigh to the sinner. This 
language does not imply that there will be abso- 
lutely any change in God, but only relatively. God 
is unchangeably and eternally the same holy, just, 
and beneficent Being, without variableness or 
shadow of turning. The sinner must change his 
attitude toward God. This implies several things : 

1. As already shown, the sinner must realize his 
separation from God. This perception of the soul's 
separation from God will be realized at some period 
of every person's life, at least in a measure, though 
the light may be partially quenched, the truth 
smothered in some degree. 

2. Following this perception of the soul's separa- 
tion from God comes the desire to return. The 
soul then draws nigh to God in its desires. It hun- 
gers and thirsts after righteousness; it cries out for 
the living God. 

3. Next the soul draws nigh to God in its pur- 

2 5° Upper Room Meditations. 

pose. Seeing that God is the chief, only, and eter- 
nal good of the soul, he says in his heart: "Thy face, 
Lord, will I seek." Thus he draws nigh to God in 
this supreme purpose of his soul. 

4. The sincerity of his purpose is evidenced by 
his diligent use of the means of grace. He seeks as- 
sociation with the people of God, he improves all 
opportunities to read and hear God's Word, to re- 
ceive the sacraments and ordinances of God's 
house — in a word, he is willing and ready to ap- 
proach God in God's own way and to receive his 
grace through the channels he has graciously and 
wisely appointed. He does not despise God's 
Church, nor slight any of its means of grace. 

5. He draws nigh to God in prayer. In prayer the 
soul approaches God directly. All the desires, as- 
pirations, feelings, and purposes of the soul are 
drawn out in prayer. In earnest prayer the soul 
draws nigh to God in a peculiar sense; the world is 
forgotten, the visible and transitory gives place to 
the invisible and eternal; the world is shut out, and 
the soul, face to face with God in humble depend- 
ence and trust, seeks directly for light, for forgive- 
ness, for strength, for purity, for salvation. 

Thus we draw nigh to God, and, thus drawing 
nigh, all who approach him in sincerity will realize 

Coming into Touch. 251 

that God will draw nigh to them. He will meet 
the returning wanderer, and answer all the desires 
of the awakened soul. Of course we are not to un- 
derstand that God ever changes in his nature or 
disposition toward his creatures, but simply that 
he acts upon principle in his moral administration, 
and bestows his promised blessings on conditions 
which are within our own power. The condition of 
his drawing nigh to us is that we draw nigh to him. 

1. This implies that God aids us in our approach- 
es by his Holy Spirit. "We know not what we 
should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself 
maketh intercession for us." The Lord marks and 
encourages the first risings of holy desire. "I 
waited patiently for the Lord," says the psalmist, 
"and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry." The 
Lord draws nigh to us in gracious assistance when 
we draw nigh to him in earnest desire. 

2. When we draw nigh to God in penitence, he 
draws nigh to us in mercy. 

3. When we draw nigh to God with our empti- 
ness, he draws nigh to us in all his infinite and eter- 
nal fullness. 

4. When we draw nigh to God in our weakness, 
he draws nigh to us in the greatness of his 
strength, mighty to save. 

252 Upper Room Meditations. 

5. When we draw nigh to God in our trouble 
and sorrow, he draws nigh to us with his peace, re- 
vealing himself as "the God of all comfort." Draw 
nigh to God with a broken heart, and he will draw 
nigh to heal. 

Be encouraged thus to draw nigh to God, because 
the way is open, the new and living way, by 
our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, 
and the Life. God is near you this moment just 
in proportion to your desire for his mercy and 
peace. ''The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, 
and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which 
we preach." God is nigh unto all that call upon 

Our approach to God here on earth is necessarily 
imperfect; we are burdened and fettered by human 
infirmities and disabilities. In heaven our approach 
to God will be direct, our vision of his face will be 
unclouded, our enjoyment of his presence will be 
without interruption or alloy. We shall there see 
him as he is, and know even as we are known. 
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from fall- 
ing, and to present you faultless before the pres- 
ence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only 
wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, do- 
minion and power, both now and ever. Amen." 


There were present at that season some that told him of 
the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their 
sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose 
ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Gali- 
leans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: 
but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or 
those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and 
slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men 
that dwelt at Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye 
repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke xiii. 1-5.) 

Calamities a Call to Repentance. 

Of the vengeance executed against the Gali- 
leans by Pilate, there is no trace to be found in 
Jewish or Roman history. Josephus makes no al- 
lusion to it. He constantly maintains a studious 
silence on such subjects, the motive for which si- 
lence was doubtless a prudent regard for his own 
interest and personal safety. The most plausible 
conjecture seems to be this: The Jews in the time 
of our Lord were divided into two principal parties, 
the Galileans and the Herodians; the latter sup- 
porting the Roman authority, and the former op- 
posing it. The Galileans were an agricultural peo- 
ple, and lived in a hilly or mountainous country. 
Such a people have always been distinguished by 
their independent spirit and love of liberty. The 
man who stands upon his own soil, breathes the 
free air of the country, and looks up to the capa- 
cious sky spreading its ample canopy above him, 
who is familiar with nature in her native grandeur 
and amplitude — this man will be the first to resist 
and the last to submit to tyranny. The Highland- 
ers of Scotland have never been conquered. Dur- 
ing the war for American independence Washing-^ 


256 Upper Room Meditations. 

ton remarked that if all the cities of the colonies 
were taken by the enemy and the country overrun 
everywhere else he would retire to the mountains 
in Augusta County, Va., and there make a last 
stand for liberty. In the fifth chapter of the Acts 
of the Apostles mention is made of a sedition 
made by these proud-spirited Galileans headed by 
one Judas. It is supposed that those whose blood 
was mingled with their sacrifices were a portion of 
these seditious Galileans who had come to Jerusa- 
lem to celebrate the feast of the Passover, of whom 
Pilate made an example with a view to intimidate 
the rest of their unruly countrymen. This con- 
jecture may be the right one. And with regard to 
the other instance of awful and sudden death men- 
tioned here it is probable that the tower which fell 
upon and killed the eighteen victims was built over 
one of the porticoes near the pool of Siloam, men- 
tioned in the ninth chapter of John. These, how- 
ever, are not matters of importance. The text al- 
ludes to localities familiar and contemporaneous 
events well known to his hearers. His purpose is 
to impress truth upon their minds and to lead them 
to repentance. He would correct their erroneous 
views concerning divine providence and the princi- 
ples of divine government. He would teach them 

Calamities a Call to Repentance. 257 

rightly to interpret national calamities and indi- 
vidual afflictions. He asserts the sovereignty and 
providence of God, and would lead them to ac- 
knowledge the one and to trust in the other, 

What different views do men take of the events 
of human history and the vicissitudes of individual 
existence! And how blind they are to the truth! 
how generally are the lessons which God would 
teach them misunderstood or unheeded! Espe- 
cially is this true with regard to the judgments, the 
penal and admonitory visitations, of the Almighty 
upon the children of men. Let us consider some 
of these errors. 

1. A common error is indifference to the judg- 
ments of God. Men are generally stupid and in- 
attentive concerning the work God is doing in the 
earth. God stretches forth his hand, but men do 
not regard. If their own persons are not in dan- 
ger, if their property be not threatened nor their 
pleasures interrupted, no matter what judgments 
are abroad in the earth, a majority of men are lit- 
tle concerned. They never stop to inquire the de- 
signs of Providence. Of course they cannot be 
wholly unaffected by the strokes of Providence. 
The terrible tragedies alluded to in the text seem 

to have excited some attention and elicited some 

258 Upper Room Meditations. 

remark. ^There were present at that season some 
who told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate 
had mingled with their sacrifices." Such an event 
could not fail to become a subject of current 
conversation at least until some other new thing 
should demand attention. But the impression was 
superficial and transient. The judgment did not 
come home to the survivors, and they took it not 
to heart. So with men now. They see no providen- 
tial agency, they discover no moral significance in 
the great events and signal occurrences transpir- 
ing among nations and in individual lives. The 
politician only asks how these things will affect his 
party, and how he may from them reap political 
advantage; the merchant and the banker ask how 
they will affect business; the man of the world, in 
a word, looks on these things with a worldly eye, 
and with a heart indifferent to all but merely 
worldly results. The Christian takes a wider view. 
He sees God directing all events, in all public ca- 
lamities he recognizes his messengers of justice 
and warning; and in all things he adores that 
God without whose notice a sparrow does not 
fall to the ground, and "who makes flames of fire 
his angels and winds his ministers." He believes 
in a living God, and from all his present works, as 

Calamities a Call to Repentance. 259 

well as from the record of his past doings, learns 
his will divine. 

2. Another error is blindness concerning God's 
judgments. By blindness I do not mean the 
natural weakness of intellect of those incapable of 
reflection and a sound judgment. I speak of those 
who "profess to become wise, yet become fools;" 
who plume themselves on a fancied superiority 
over the prejudices of the vulgar, and are all the 
more blind because they think they see. Among 
this class are those who deny the doctrine of a 
particular providence, and look upon those who 
recognize the hand of God in the affairs of this 
life as credulous and weak-brained. They refer 
everything to second causes; recognize no agency 
above human in the transactions of the world, re- 
garding nature as the all. Surely this is blindness, 
not to see that God rules the world he has made — 
not to see that above Pilate, the Roman Governor, 
is Jehovah, the Governor of the universe; that above 
nature, and controlling nature, is nature's God. 
For what is nature? "Either it is nothing, or it is 
the aggregation of what God has created; either 
the effects of nature are nothing, or they are the 
products and effects of the laws by which God has 
arranged and by which he governs his creation; 

260 Upper Room Meditations. 

consequently, whatever we call natural effects, and 
the result of second causes, are the work of God 
and the effects of his established laws." An earth- 
quake is a natural effect, and proceeds from a sec- 
ond cause. But who made the earth, and estab- 
lished the laws by which earthquakes are produced? 
Either God or chance. If chance, then there is no 
God. If God, then it is proved that natural effects 
are the works of God, the results of his established 

Again: God, in the arrangement of his laws, 
knew every effect which would result from their 
operation. God does not learn from age, nor 
grow wiser by experience. To deny this would be 
to profess atheism. God, then, has foreseen all 
these effects; they enter into his plan, and he de- 
signs they shall work to an appropriate end. All 
that he does is in accordance with his design — not 
only in great events, but in the smallest also. Ev- 
erything in his works consequently entered into 
his counsels and contribute to his designs. There 
is a God in nature and in providence, and not to 
recognize his hand in the various events of life is 
the blindness of folly and atheism. 

These arguments from reason are confirmed and 
illustrated in Scripture. Joseph in Egypt is an il- 

Calamities a Call to Repentance. 261 

lustration. He was wickedly sold by his brethren; 
yet God sent him. The Assyrians were bent on 
conquest in the invasion of Israel, but they were 
the rod of God's anger. Do the wicked Jews afflict 
and crucify the Son of God in the malignity and 
blindness of their evil hearts? They are carrying 
out the purposes of God. God has his purposes 
in all that transpires, and in his chastisements he 
would teach us lessons of instruction. In the midst 
of great judgments overthrowing the nations sur- 


rounding them, and general profligacy and disobe- 
dience among the Jews, God thus spoke by the 
prophet Ezekiel: "As I live, saith the Lord God, 
surely because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with 
all thy detestable things, ... a third part of 
thee shall die with the pestilence, . . . and a 
third part shall fall by the sword, . . . and a 
third part I will scatter. . . . So it shall be a re- 
proach and a taunt, an instruction." This is God's 
design in afflicting other men — viz., our instruc- 
tion. He would thus teach us. 

God would teach us further, first, that we must 
not suppose that the most afflicted are always the 
most guilty. This was a common notion among 
the ancients. When any misfortune befell an indi- 
vidual, they said at once that "the gods were an- 

262 Upper Room Meditations. 

gry with nim." This idea was very prevalent 
among the Jews. The opinion was common 
among them that all calamities of this life were 
the punishment of sin. The mistakes of Job's 
friends were based on this principle; they assumed 
that Job's extraordinary sufferings were the con- 
sequences of great wickedness. The disciples, con- 
cerning a man born blind, asked this question: 
"Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that 
he was born blind?" This supposed that every 
calamity was the result of some crime; and they 
carried it so far as to suppose that it included sins 
committed in a preexistent state. This idea is 
involved, apparently, in the question mentioned. 
Those who reported the massacre of the Galileans 
were doubtless of this opinion; and this notion our 
Lord refutes: "Suppose ye that those eighteen, 
upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, . . . were 
sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I 
tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all 
likewise perish." 

2. They were blind to experience. The wicked 
have in all ages been possessed of worldly prosper- 
ity. Pilate is on the throne; Jesus is on the cross. 
Nero is in the palace; Paul in a dungeon. The 
wicked spreading himself like a green bay tree, the 

Calamities a Call to Repentance. 263 

righteous afflicted — it is the old tragic puzzle, of 


3. They forgot or denied a future judgment. 
They did not consider that the punishments of sin 
in this life were not adequate or equal; they ig- 
nored the judgment which is to come. If this ex- 
istence were eternal, their argument would have 
had some force. But as there is a future judgment, 
when goodness will be recompensed and sin pun- 
ished, the absurdity of their notion was manifest. 

4. They forgot the value of afflictions. Men are 
afflicted for their good sometimes. "Many are the 
afflictions of the righteous." The Lord chastens 
us for our profit, and brings us to submission by 
parental stripes. His love compels the infliction 
of chastisement. There is benignity in the pain of 
penitence; there is mercy in the agony of the heart 
that bleeds because its idol is torn away; there is 
love in the violent alarms that arouse the guilty 
conscience; there is fatherly goodness in the denial 
of desires the gratification of which would be at- 
tended with danger and ruin. 

"Good when he gives, supremely good, 
Nor less when he denies; 
E'en crosses from his sovereign hand 
Are blessings in disguise." 

5- They exhibit blindness as to their own hearts. 

264 Upper Room Meditations. 

Self-knowledge is a great help to the exercise of 
charity. A consciousness of our own imperfec- 
tions, a remembrance of our own misdoings, will 
make us lenient in our judgment of others. "I am 
the chief of sinners; but I obtained mercy," said 
Paul. He was so impressed with his own sinful- 
ness that he extenuated that of others. "In lowli- 
ness of mind, let each esteem another better than 
himself/' This is only possible in the sense that 
you know your own heart better than you do the 
hearts of others. Who of us does not know more 
evil of himself than of any other individual? 

Mankind remain obdurate under the judgments 
of God. And because of this obduracy their de- 
sign is frustrated. That design is to bring men to 
repentance and salvation. He thus forewarns them 
of the judgments which will come upon them un- 
less they repent: "Except ye repent, ye shall all 
likewise perish." This was the design with regard 
to the Jews. The sentence against them, "Except 
ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," was literally 
executed. On the day of their passover, when 
the people had gathered from all parts of the land 
to offer their sacrifices, Archelaus surrounded the 
city with his cavalry, sent his foot soldiers into the 
temple, and massacred three thousand persons. 

Calamities a Call to Repentance. 265 

Josephus tells us that the factions who held their 
sittings in the temple ''extended their revenges to 
the altar; they massacred the priests with those 
who offered sacrifices. Men who came from the 
extremities of the earth to worship God in his holy 
place fell down slain with their victims, and sprin- 
kled their blood on the altar, revered not only by 
the Greeks, but by the most barbarous nations. 
The blood was seen to flow as rivers; and the dead 
bodies, not only of natives, but of strangers, filled 
this holy place." The Roman army under Titus 
besieged Jerusalem precisely at the time of the 
passover, captured the city, gave it up to slaughter, 
and the blood of eleven hundred thousand persons 
was mingled with their sacrifices — thus justifying 
the expression, "Suppose ye these Galileans were 
more culpable? Except ye repent, ye shall all like- 
wise perish." Thus was the prophecy of the text 
literally fulfilled. During the same siege the walls 
of Jerusalem were sapped, and, falling, buried mul- 
titudes in their ruins, literally fulfilling the other 
part of the prophecy: "Suppose ye that those 
eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell . . . 
were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusa- 
lem? I tell you, Nay: but, except fe repent, ye 
shall all likewise perish." Certainly here is a re- 

a66 Upper Room Meditations. 

markable coincidence — a fearful prophecy and a 
fearful fulfillment. 

What, finally, is the lesson God would teach us 
from this text? That we have an interest in the 
great events that are transpiring in our days — 
that the calamities which afflict others call us to 
repentance — repentance for our own sins, not 
somebody else's sins; not the sins of this party or 
that party, but the sins of our own hearts and lives. 


44 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." 
(Matt. v. 7.) 

- The Fifth Beatitude. 

Mercy here means the active love of our neigh- 
bor, expressing itself in all possible deeds of benev- 
olence toward the needy, forgiveness of wrongs 
committed against ourselves, and the improve- 
ment of all opportunities to do good to all men. 
This mercy, bear in mind, presupposes the previous 
work of grace wrought in the soul described in the 
preceding verses. The progress continues from a 
principle of righteousness implanted in the heart 
to its development in the constant exercise of an 
active love toward our fellow-creatures. Mercy, 
in the text, is the conformity of our feelings and 
conduct to the Golden Rule. 

This mercy is an attribute of God, and exists no- 
where but as it is derived from him. To the ex- 
tent that any man possesses the principle of mer- 
cy, in the sense of the text, is he a partaker of the 
divine nature? Are none then merciful but true 
Christians? None are merciful save those who 
from an impulse of grace, recognized or concealed, 
practice toward others whatever they seek for 
themselves. This definition, while it opens the 
-door of mercy to the heathen, whom many shut 


270 Upper Room Meditations. 

out by their narrow restrictions of the grace of 
God, may shut it against some who fondly suppose 
it will fly wide open at their knock. 

1. Negatively considered, this mercy is not mere 
natural sympathy, which even the most wicked 
are sometimes obliged to feel. It is not the sickly 
sentiment that weeps over the catastrophe of a 
yellow-covered novel, or the mock agonies of the 

2. This mercy is not refined selfishness, which 
makes us complaisant and indulgent toward our 
own flesh and blood, and the narrow circle sur- 
rounding our own interests and individual rela- 
tionships. Family relationships and peculiar friend- 
ships are not only sanctioned by the Word of God, 
but are brought under the control of grace, reg- 
ulated, strengthened, and sanctified. But when 
affection goes no farther, it is merely natural, not 
gracious; it is merely the operation of a principle 
of self-love, instead of the heavenly principle that 
makes a man "merciful" in the sense of the text. 

3. This mercy is not devotion to a party, to the 
exclusion of all who are not embraced within its 
lines. The principle of mercy which comes from 
God is like its Author, diffusive, reaching to all 
men, "without partiality and without hypocrisy." 

The Fifth Beatitude. 271 

It does not mean fraternity to such as agree with 
you in all your opinions, and death and destruction 
to the rest of mankind. If the gospel is misunder- 
stood or disregarded by those who should be its 
exponents and exemplars, it is the crime of the 
false teacher, the misfortune of the falsely taught, 
not the fault of the gospel, which is an infallible 
and unchanging rule of conduct. This mercy is 
none of these things, though often the mistake is 
made of supposing that it is. 

Positively considered, this mercy is the love of 
our neighbor. This consists of and is manifested 
in a compassionate regard toward others, and the 
improvement of all opportunities to do them good. 
It is an emotion excited in the heart by the dis- 
covery of any creature's danger or misery, and a 
corresponding outward conduct — a mercifulness 
of disposition and action. This mercy is mani- 
fested by a regard for the souls of our fellow-men. 
As their immortal interests are paramount in im- 
portance, so a true view of our obligation to love 
our neighbor requires that we seek first of all to 
promote his spiritual welfare. This requires, neg- 
atively: 1. That we abstain from all conversation 
and all conduct that might injure his soul. This 
excludes all profanity in public places, for the tend- 

272 Upper Room Meditations. 

ency of this vice is to destroy reverence for God 
and regard for his will. Of course it excludes pro- 
fanity in the presence of your neighbor's children. 
As to a man's swearing in the presence of his own 
children, great indeed must be the thoughtlessness 
or recklessness of the man who will be guilty of it. 
2. The violation of the Sabbath comes under the 
same principle, is excluded on the same ground. 
And so with all the commands of God, the viola- 
tion of which would tend to endanger the immor- 
tal interests of our fellow-men. Does then the 
Golden Rule require that a man shall be a Chris- 
tian? It does, for in no other way can a man show 
an active love for his neighbor's soul. 

This mercy is shown by a practical regard for 
our neighbor's temporal welfare. This embraces 
his good name, his property, his feelings. 

1. The truly merciful man will not only not bear 
false witness against his neighbor, but he will not 
speak evil of his neighbor even truthfully unless 
right and duty require. This mercy does not al- 
low a wanton dissection of character, with no bet- 
ter motive than a mischievous and malignant pleas- 
ure in exposing the frailties and imperfections of 
our fellows. If this be so, how often do we violate 
the law of mercy in our dealings with one another! 

The Fifth Beatitude. 273 

Mankind naturally seem to be animals of prey; they 
love to hunt one another down; often, like wolves, 
when one of a pack is wounded, the rest tear him 
in pieces and devour him. So society generally 
treats its wounded members. Woe to the man or 
woman whose reputation receives a wound, how- 
ever slight! The whole pack of tea table talkers, 
street corner babblers, and fireside gossips open 
cry, and the unhappy victim is hunted into despair 
or the grave. Christian mercy would soothe and 
heal such wounds; while the savage rabble of hu- 
man passions would stone the sinner, that mercy 
which breathes the Spirit of Jesus says: "Go in 
peace, and sin no more." 

2. This mercy requires that we regard our neigh- 
bor's temporal interest, and conform our business 
intercourse to the Golden Rule. Who does this? 
Who does this in buying and selling? in borrow- 
ing and lending? Is not the practice of the Church 
too much conformed to the spirit of the world? 
The maxims of business men in our centers of 
trade are such as will not stand the test of Bible 
principles nor the scrutiny of the final judgment. 
Let Christians beware lest they conform to these 
low and worldly standards of business morality. 

And let business men beware lest the maxims of 

274 Upper Room Meditations. 

trade ruin their souls. Custom cannot cancel or 
condone sin. 

3. This mercy requires that we regard the feel- 
ings as well as the reputation and estate of our 
neighbor. There seems to be a strange want of 
perception here. Many who would revolt at the 
idea of maiming or wounding the body of a neigh- 
bor, or casting a stain upon his character, think 
nothing of lacerating his feelings by unkind and 
bitter remarks, by needless insults, and stinging in- 
nuendoes. Alas for the bluntness of feeling that 
does not see that the soul can feel as well as the 
body! Its wounds are harder to heal, yet how 
carelessly are they inflicted! Take care how you 
launch these barbed arrows; they may strike where 
you intend not; sped at random, they lodge in 
hearts which cease not to writhe with anguish un- 
til death brings the rest that thoughtless tongues 
will not permit on earth. It is not the tongue only 
that makes these wounds; a glance of the eye, a 
curl of the lip, a toss of the head, may send a pang 
to a sensitive heart, that will leave its smart long 
after it may have passed from the memory of the 
thoughtless mind. 

4. This mercy also requires the forgiveness of 
injuries. This means that we must not only for- 

The Fifth Beatitude. 275 

bear to retaliate injuries, but repay evil with good. 
Mere natural amiability will not enable a man to 
do this. There are divers motives which may 
prompt a man without, religion to forbear the re- 
taliation of injuries — prudence, avarice, cowardice. 
Nothing but religion will enable him fully to for- 
give a grievous wrong; nothing else will make him 
"merciful" in the sense of the text. Revenge is 
natural to the human heart. Men have compassed 
sea and land, they have traversed deserts, scaled 
mountains, ravaged nations, desolated cities, to 
gratify revenge. There is an Arabian proverb: 
"Why should a man care to die the day after his 
enemy?" Atrocious as seems the sentiment, is it 
not generally acted upon in the world? Is not this 
the spirit that keeps up dueling and war? Men 
will run the risk of ruin to themselves for the hope 
of ruining an enemy. True Christianity alone con j 
quers the spirit of revenge. The grace of God can 
and does enable a man to love his enemies, after 
the example of Christ. If few have shown this 
spirit in our day, it may prove that there are few 
practical Christians, but it does not invalidate ei- 
ther the truth or the excellency of Christianity. 
Perhaps this one good may grow out of the war : it 
may reveal to the Church how far its standard has 

276 Upper Room Meditations. 

been sunlc below that of the Sermon on the Mount. 
After these storms have blown over, I anticipate 
a glorious reaction in favor of Christianity; the 
light will shine so clear that good men will see eye 
to eye everywhere; the barriers which now keep 
them disunited will fall down, and the true follow- 
ers of Christ will come together and under the ban- 
ner of love will march onward to the millennium. 
Come, happy day! sink down, ye separating hills! 
dispel, ye clouds of prejudice and wrath that dark- 
en our horizon to-day! Come, bright morning of 
hope and promise! Spirit of God, kindle in our 
hearts the fire which burns in love, not in hate ! 

Then we shall be blessed; being thus made mer- 
ciful, thus exercising mercy, we shall obtain mer- 
cy; thus forgiving, we shall be forgiven; thus lov- 
ing, we shall receive love; thus seeking to bless, 
blessing shall abound unto us. 


Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubt- 
ful disputations." (Rom. xiv. i.) 


Christianity has been quarreling with itself 
during all these long centuries of its history. Dis- 
putation began in the very lifetime of the apostles, 
and mainly with regard to nonessentials, the mere 
externalities of religion. Paul and Peter them- 
selves had a difference on an issue of this sort. At 
Rome a dispute had broken out between the Gen- 
tile and Jewish converts with regard to the observ- 
ance of certain matters of mere form. Paul at this 
time had never been to Rome in person, and it is 
thought that he got his information concerning 
these things from Aquila and Priscilla. Be this as 
it may, he seemed to know the whole case, and he 
sought promptly to apply the remedy. He had 
the quick eye and steady hand of a good surgeon. 
He pleads foftoleration and for true religious free- 
dom. The substance of his plea is that the ques- 
tions in dispute were unimportant, r not essential 
to salvation, and should not be allowed to disturb 
the peace of the Church. He would convince 
them that the cardinal truths of the gospel were 
too glorious, and the actual experiences of believ- 
ers too precious, and life too short, to allow them 


280 Upper Room Meditations. 

to waste time and words in disputes about minor 
matters. Of course we are not to understand the 
apostle as undervaluing the fundamentals of Chris- 
tianity, but only to warn the Church against tri- 
fling and needless disputation. Paraphrased freely, 
what he would say is something like this: "Dear 
Christian brother at Rome, don't be an extremist ; 
don't stickle for trifles; don't ride hobbies; don't 
perplex and worry your brother with disputings 
about mere questions of meats and days. And 
don't permit him to trouble you with such things. 
He may be weaker than yourself, or you may think 
that he is, but his heart may be just as true as 
yours, and to his own Master he will stand or fall." 
There is only one question to be asked concerning 
him: "Is he in the faith?" The faith! How grand, 
yet how simple is the faith! It is concreted in the 
confession that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of sin- 
ners. The correlative facts and inductions are in 
some degree within the mental grasp of any man 
who has intellect and moral perception enough to 
make him accountable to God for belief and con- 
duct. But who can measure their breadth and 
height, or fathom their depth? Repentance to- 
ward God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the for- 
giveness of sins, the witness of the Spirit, a new 

Certainty. 281 

heart and a new life, resurrection from the dead, a 
judgment to come — all these correlated beliefs and 
experiences we are in the habit of designating the 
faith. Concerning some of these points of belief 
a fellow-believer's conception may be vague, his 
mental grasp on them may be weak. But he may 
be none the less sincere, he may be none the less 
an accepted follower of his Lord, a child of grace, 
and an heir of heaven. His Saviour hath received 
him. You must receive him. What does that 

1. It means that you must admit him to mem- 
bership in the visible Church of Christ. It is 
Christ's Church, not ours. Every one who would 
follow Christ should belong to his Church. Take 
the weak brother in if he believes in the Lord Je- 
sus Christ. Give him the right hand of fellowship, 
and let your heart and hand go together in so do- 

2. You must give him your sympathy and your 
help according to the measure of his need and of 
your ability. You must give him the use of the 
means of grace, throw around him the bulwarks of 
Christian truth, and fortify and encourage him by 
your Christian example and influence. 

3- You must bear with his infirmities. It is easy 

282 Upper Room Meditations. 

to do this when your own heart is right. But play- 
ing at Christianity is hard work. What is drier, 
harder, colder than a constrained Christian fellow- 
ship? But genuine Christian fellowship is heaven 
on earth in its essentials on the positive side. It is 
love that makes heaven. Where love is, is heaven. 
The kingdom of heaven is within the hearts of be- 
lievers. It can be nowhere else. We must carry 
this heaven within us if we expect to reach the 
heaven of our hopes hereafter. In the old days 
that are gone we have had sweet fellowship with 
Christian friends who have entered into the fellow- 
ship of the saints in light. They were not all equal 
in strength of intellect and of faith. They were all 
weak enough even at their best so far as their own 
strength was concerned, but they overcame in the 
strength of the Lord. We will follow them as they 
followed Christ. We will not stop to dispute about 
trifles, nor waste time on little things. The great 
things are the things that are certain. We will not 
disturb ourselves or others with doubtful disputa- 
tions. Certainty! that is what we want. 


Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, 
that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor. 
xir. 9.) 

Paul's Paradox. 

It is a little remarkable that this wonderful event 
in the experience of the apostle Paul, the most 
wonderful in all his extraordinary career, should 
not have been mentioned by him for fourteen long 
years. And it was only mentioned at all because 
it seemed to be necessary thus to vindicate his 
apostolic authority against certain false teachers 
who were aspersing his character, disturbing the 
Church, and leading the people into error. With 
the same motive he had, in the preceding chapter, 
felt constrained to refer to his sufferings and serv- 
ices in behalf of the gospel, not to glorify himself, 
but to glorify God, whose grace was sufficient for 
him. This language was so unusual to Paul that 
he throws himself upon the indulgence of the Co- 
rinthian Church, asks them to bear with him while 
he compares the credentials of his apostleship with 
those of the factious errorists who were leading 
them astray. In this twelfth chapter he pursues 
the same subject, and under the strong constraint 
of duty he reverently lifts the veil which had for 
fourteen years hidden from the gaze of the world 
the sublime revelation afforded to him. He seems 


286 Upper Room Meditations. 

to feel that* he is treading on holy ground, where 
he must walk with uncovered head and feet un- 
shod. He seems almost to whisper the words 
with drawn breath: "It is not expedient for me 
doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and rev- 
elations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above 
fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I can- 
not tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: 
God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third 
heaven. . . . How that he was caught up into 
paradise, and heard unspeakable words, not lawful 
for a man to utter." He knew a man in Christ — 
how modest is this man of God ! A man in Christ 
— nothing in himself, but all in Christ — a man in 
Christ — i. e., a. man rilled with his Spirit, upheld by 
his grace, and lifted into heaven by his power. 
Whether in or out of the body, he could not tell; 
the vision or revelation was real; there was no 
doubt about that; his soul was caught up to para- 
dise, but the manner of it was above his knowl- 
edge. How he got there was more than he could 
declare; and what he heard, he could not unfold. 
It was too sublime for human speech; too sacred, 
it may be, for mortal ears. Though Paul had 
never before mentioned this vision and these reve- 
lations, yet we cannot doubt that the great and 

Paul's Paradox. 287 

glorious truths taught by him were communicated 
at least in part while in paradise. In these very 
epistles he tells that which he could never have 
known save by a special revelation from God. 
And is it strange that Paul had a poor opinion of 
this world in comparison with the things that are 
above? He had been there; he had seen and heard, 
the scene had enraptured his soul; henceforth the 
paltry treasures, honors, and pleasures of earth are 
insignificant in his estimation. Is it strange that 
he was more abundant in labors than others? that 
he gloried in persecution and tribulations for 
Christ's sake? Are you surprised to hear him say: 
"This one thing I do, forgetting the things which 
are behind, and reaching forth unto those things 
which are before, I press toward the mark for the 
prize?" What Paul saw thus, we may see by faith, 
and like him be animated and inspired by the view 
to press forward and take the prize. 

Paul breaks off abruptly in the narration of his 
heavenly vision. While vindicating his apostolic 
claims, he would not seem unduly to exalt himself; 
and, conscious of his own weakness and unworthi- 
ness in himself, he is fearful lest he might be 
thought of more highly than was proper. He would 
guard against the insidious approach of pride and 

288 Upper Room Meditations. 

self-love: "I* forbear, lest any man should think of 
me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he 
heareth of me." The holy apostle only sought the 
good of men; he was indifferent to their honors. 

But it is evident from the dealings of Providence 
with him that the apostle had been in danger from 
spiritual pride, a sin to which the holiest Christians 
are liable, from which the most wonderful revela- 
tions and blessed experiences furnish no security. 
Every blessing, every endowment of heaven brings 
with it a corresponding danger of its perversion 
or nonimprovement. This is a law unvarying in 
its operation, showing that, varied as are the cir- 
cumstances and experiences of the children of men, 
God deals impartially with all, the scales of eternal 
Justice are held with an even hand. Paul had been 
in the third heaven, where he heard unutterable 
words; but he returned to earth with his imperfect, 
fallible human nature, and is therefore liable to sin, 
even to have the very abundance of the revelations 
he received turned into an occasion for sinful pride. 
Such is the deceitfulness of sin, such is our liability 
to go astray until death releases us from our con- 
flict. God would save his servant from this sin of 
pride, so he sends him "a thorn in the flesh," a 
"messenger of Satan to buffet him." Opinions vary 

Paul's Paradox. 289 

as to what this thorn in the flesh was. Dr. Kitto's 
opinion is the most likely — namely, that it was a 
very painful affection of the eyes. But whatever 
it was, the apostle recognized it as providential — 
sent for his good. Therefore he did not complain; 
he knew it was better to suffer outward affliction 
than to perish from inward corruption. Spiritual 
pride especially is so dangerous a sin that any 
means of cure or prevention should be thankfully 
welcomed. God sees our danger often when we do 
not see it ourselves, and he prevents us by his mer- 
cy. Hence, instead of complaining or distrusting 
God when suffering affliction or visited with ad- 
versity, his hand should be recognized, his good- 
ness praised; for he afflicts us for our profit: "Ev- 
ery branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it 
may bring forth more fruit." Better affliction 
than ruin. 

The severity of this affliction was such that the 
apostle, while submissive to the divine will and 
uncomplaining, wished for a release from it. No 
measure of grace will make us insensible to pain. 
The apostle prayed for deliverance ; how much bet- 
ter was this than to have spent his breath in mur- 
muring against God, or in doleful complaints to 
his fellow-creatures! He prayed to the Lord — that 
l 9 

290 Upper Room Meditations. 

is, the Lor(j Jesus Christ, who by this prayer he 
acknowledged as God Almighty, Omniscient, Om- 
nipresent, truly and essentially God. The apostle 
had prayed to the Lord in other trials, and always 
had found him a present help in time of trouble. 
He now carries his great pain to the mercy seat; 
but, strange to say, he seems to pray in vain; he 
obtains neither relief nor comfort. He prays again 
with the same result. The third time he prays, and 
then he receives an answer; thus teaching us to 
persevere in prayer, to knock, and keep knock- 
ing, until the door is opened. The answer, how- 
ever, did not come as Paul desired; yet it came. 
The Lord said to him: "My grace is sufficient for 
thee." You must carry this thorn in your flesh, 
but I will give you grace to endure; you must bear 
the cross, but I will give you strength. He prayed 
for rest, but the Lord sends grace, which is far bet- 
ter. It is an adage that we do not know how 
much we can bear until we are tried; the believer 
does not know the power of God until he gets to 
the end of his own strength. Grace is better than 
health, ease, or physical comfort. For God's 
strength is made perfect in human weakness; when 
weak in ourselves, then we are strong in him. 
"Most gladly therefore [says the apostle] will I 

Paul's Paradox. 291 

rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of 
Christ may rest upon me." 

This is the conclusion of the apostle; this is the 
lesson he learned in heaven and confirmed by his 
experience on earth. Most gladly, therefore, he 
chose rather to glory in his infirmities, his afflic- 
tions and sorrows, than in his visions and revela- 
tions, because by these he was drawn nearer to 
Christ and led to experience more of his presence 
and power. By the revelations he was exalted tem- 
porarily above the world and sense, but this was a 
small thing compared with the profitable lessons 
he learned in the school of affliction. 

1. He was taught to be humble. Under the 
pressure of his great affliction he was led to realize 
his unworthiness and weakness. Such times are 
favorable for self-examination — a duty and means 
of grace which at other times we are prone to neg- 
lect. Self-examination, properly conducted, is the 
sure preventive against, and antidote for, spiritual 
pride and vainglory. Thus a man is made ac- 
quainted with the evils of his own heart and the 
errors of his life, and thus he will be abased in the 
sight of God and led to walk softly before him all 
the days of his life. 

2. The apostle thus learned his dependence upon 

292 Upper Room Meditations. 

Christ. Utterly weak and helpless in himself, he 

was led to feel his dependence upon Christ, the 
only Saviour, the support of all who put their trust 
in him. In all his sufferings he was supported by 
the power of Christ, who hath said to his disciples: 
"Without me ye can do nothing. I am the Vine; 
ye are the branches; as the branch cannot bear 
fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine, no more 
can ye except ye abide in me." He learned that 
the power of Christ rested upon him only when he 
was emptied of self-righteousness and self-depend- 
ence; that there is no promise of grace to the 
proud and self-sufficient Pharisee, but only to the 
humble, contrite, and confiding soul. 

3. He learned to rejoice in tribulations. He 
gladly gloried in infirmities. This is a different 
thing from enduring them in sullen silence. In 
such a heart there is no faith, no inspiration, no 
power of Christ, no gladness, no joy. Alas for the 
sufferer who has not Christ formed within him the 
hope of glory! The Christian rejoices in afflictions; 
not only conquers them by endurance, but more 
than conquers them by exulting in the power of 
Christ which rests upon them. Thus have mar- 
tyrs sung joyful hymns in the midst of the flames; 
thus have multitudes of the Lord's faithful ones 

Paul's Paradox. 293 

rejoiced in the hour of sorrow, and, dying, said: 
'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow 
of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; 
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." The pow- 
er of Christ is sufficient for all believers at all times 
and in all things — power to succor in every temp- 
tation, to sustain in every trial, to comfort under 
every sorrow; power to lift the soul above the 
world, and fill it with glory and with power, finally 
to raise the believer from the grave and exalt him 
to glory, honor, and immortality. The power of 
Christ is the Christian's power, and Christ's glory 
is the glory that we shall share when Christ comes 
in his kingdom 1 . 

"If any one saint needs the humility of many 
saints, it is he that is called to suffer. To glory in 
his sufferings for Christ become him well; but to 
glory in himself for them is hateful. He needs a 
quick eye and a steady hand that has to drive his 
chariot on the brow of so dangerous a precipice." 

"Faith's great power is to renounce, and to 
bring the power of God to be ours. Happy they 
that are weakest in themselves — most sensibly so ! 
That word of the apostle is theirs, 'When I am 
weak, then I am strong;' they know what it 

294 Upper Room Meditations. 

means though it is a riddle to the world." (■Leigh- 

"Look upward for the grace needed now, and 
forward for the rest that remaineth." (Anony- 

"The devil drives but a poor trade by the perse- 
cution of the saints: he tears the nest, but the bird 
escapes; he cracks the shell, but loses the kernel." 
(J. Flavel ) 


"And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of 
his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." ,(Gal. 
iv. 6.) 

Abba, Father. 

Here is a biblical bonanza that can be worked 
for what is in it by whosoever will. To some read- 
ers it may be new. To others it will be none the 
less precious because their faith had already 
grasped the truth that when the fullness of the 
time was come there was a clearer, fuller, sweeter 
revelation of the fatherhood of God and the son- 
ship and heirship of believers. 

The fullness of the time came according to the 
wisdom and will of God, who knows all times and 
seasons. In answer to the question, "Why was the 
world so long without Christianity?" a preacher of 
the last generation says: "Truth being un- 
changeable, the gospel is the same at whatever 
time it may be produced. Consequently there was 
no loss to those who lived before the incarnation, 
for the virtue of Christ's atonement depends not 
upon the time when it was made but upon his di- 
vinity. Christ came at precisely the proper time. 
The state of human language at the time ; the fact 
that the world was then prepared to examine the 
claims of the Gospel; the fact that the world was 
then fully able to appreciate its doctrines by com- 

( 2 97) 

298 Upper Room Meditations. 

parison and contrast ; the fact that Christ came in 
the fullness of time as regards the types, promises, 
and prophecies of the Scriptures"— all these facts 
lead to the same conclusion. 

"Behold the greatness of thy Creator veiled with 
the goodness of thy Redeemer; the justice of a first 
person qualified by the mercy of a second, the pu- 
rity of the divine nature uniting itself with 
the human in one Emmanuel; a perfect man to 
suffer, a perfect God to pardon; and both God and 
man in one person, at the same instant, able and 
willing to give and take a perfect satisfaction for 
thee. O my soul, a wonder above wonders! an 
incomprehensibility above all admiration! a depth 
past finding out ! Under this shadow, O my soul, 
refresh thyself. If thy sins fear the hand of justice, 
behold thy sanctuary; if thy offenses tremble before 
the Judge, behold thy Advocate; if thy creditor 
threaten a prison, behold thy bail; behold the Lamb 
of God that hath taken thy sins from thee; behold 
the Blessed of heaven and earth, that hath pre- 
pared a kingdom for thee. Be ravished, O my 
soul, O bless the name of Elohim; O bless the name 
of our Emmanuel with praises and eternal hallelu- 
jahs." (Quarles.) 

"God hath not in vain taken upon him the name 

Abba, Father. 299 

of a Father, and he fills it up to the full. It is a 
name of indulgence, a name of hope, a name of pro- 
vision, a name of protection. It argues the miti- 
gation of punishment. A little is enough for a fa- 
ther. Therefore in all temptations it should teach 
us, by prayer, to fly under the wings of our Heaven- 
ly Father, and to expect from him all that a father 
should do for his child, as provision, for protection, 
indulgence, yea, and seasonable correction also, 
which are as necessary for us as our daily bread; 
and when we die we may expect our inheritance, 
because he is our Father. But yet we must re- 
member also that the name of father is a word of 
relation. Something also he expects from us. We 
must reverence him as a father, which consists in 
fear and love." (Sibbes.) 

Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. "He that 
hath seen Me hath seen the Father" is his own 
statement of this stupendous fact. Gpd manifest 
in the flesh: we hear him speak, we see him work, 
we feel his touch in the words spoken by Jesus, in 
the wonders he wrought, in the grace he bestowed. 
Our union with Christ gives us Sonship with the 
Father, and, because we are sons, we have, indubita- 
ble attestation of the fact. God calls us sons be- 
cause we are sons. He calls everything by its right 

3<x> Upper Room Meditations. 

name. In' our measure we may know as certainly 
as Jesus knew that we are the children of God. 
All the fullness of blessing that the personal as- 
surance of our Lord Jesus Christ could impart 
were he still with us here in the flesh, his Spirit 
does impart in the present tense to the true be- 


"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another 
Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." (John 
xiv. 16.) 

Another Comforter. 

The manifold grace of the triune God shines 
forth in this pregnant passage of his holy Word. 
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are pre- 
sented in right relation and in the fullness of the 
blessing of the gospel which we believe and preach. 

Another Comforter! That was a startling state- 
ment of Jesus, that it was best for his disciples that 
his bodily presence should be withdrawn from 
them. The reason why it was so is in the fact that 
in some way clearly known to Him, yet mysterious 
to us, the Holy Spirit was to be poured out upon 
all flesh in fuller measure than ever before, inau- 
gurating the dispensation which was to be the cul- 
mination of the grace of God in the potency of its 
agencies and universality of its triumph. The ele- 
ment of time is the one feature that invites atten- 
tion in this Meditation. Its keynote is in the clos- 
ing word of the text — "Forever!" 

The ministry of the Holy Spirit can be contin- 
ued on any given line until it becomes effectual. 
He can repeat a needed lesson until it is fully 
learned. There is no impediment from absence, 
fatigue, weakness, sickness, or any other cause 


304 Upper Room Meditations. 

that belongs to the plane of our physical being. 
The Holy Spirit is able to conduct the disciple all 
the length of the heavenly way, beginning with 
the rudiments of spiritual truth, and going on 
from grace to grace and from glory to glory. 
(The Holy Spirit has been teaching patience to 
some of us many years, and is still at it. If we have 
been slow learners, he has been a patient precep- 
tor.) Taught by the Holy Spirit, in the language 
of the apostle, we magnify the name of "the God 
of patience and consolation" for things that "afore- 
time were written for our learning, that we through 
patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have 

In this prayer and promise of our Lord the risen 
Christ, the living Church, and the indwelling Spir- 
it are linked in a blessed and unending union. What 
the personal presence and immediate touch of 
Jesus was to the little band of disciples in the days 
of his flesh, the Holy Spirit is to the whole body of 
believers in the Church universal forever. What 
Jesus was in direct personal intercourse with any 
individual while he was with us here in the time of 
his fleshly sojourn, the Holy Spirit has been, is, 
and will be to every one of the unnumbered mil- 
lions of his followers. We stagger under the 

Another Comforter. 305 

weight of such a truth, while it thrills us with a 
mighty joy. 

Forever! Does this closing word open a still 
wider vista and reveal a glory yet greater? The 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the unity 
of the Godhead is the satisfying portion of each 
and all of the redeemed that shall be gathered out 
of every kindred, tribe, and tongue of earth. For- 
ever! The word is as big as the believer's hope, 
and that is as big as eternity. Forever! In this 
connection it is as sweet as that love that is dear- 
est of all things to these human hearts that cry out 
for the living God and expect to be fully satisfied 
only when they awake in his likeness. 

Forever! Certainty is assured to the sincere be- 
liever — "present grace being the pledge of future 
glory." The Voice that spake as never a mere 
man could speak makes heavenly music to the 
inner ear of the believer here : "Let not your heart 
be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it 
were not so, I would have told you. I go to pre- 
pare a place for you. And if "I go and prepare a 
place for you, I will come again, and receive you 
unto myself; that where I am, there you may be 

also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye 

306 Upper Room Meditations. 

know." (John xiv. 1-4.) Yes, Jesus knew what 
was in these hungry human hearts of ours that 
long for certainty with regard to a life to come. 
He knew the longing of our hearts to see the faces 
and to hear the voices of our beloved dead who 
have crossed over into the mystery and silence be- 
yond the grave. If it were not so, he would have 
told us — blessed words of the blessed, pitying 
Christ! That he spoke these words, we may be 
sure. That he knew whereof he affirms, we may 
be sure. That he is able to fulfill all that he has 
promised, we may be sure. He is the Way, the 
Truth, and the Life — all in the present tense. 



" The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Gal. v. 22, 23.) 

The Good Fruit of the Good Tree. 

Mark, the singular number is used here: "the 
first fruit of the Spirit.'' The Holy Spirit imparts 
life, power, and unity. Systematic study of the 
Word of the Lord and regular and right habits 
of devotion and service are not to be ignored nor 
undervalued. But the holy apostle here affirms the 
great truth which cannot be too, clearly under- 
stood nor too constantly acted upon — namely, 
the good tree produces the good fruit. A religion 
of form only is a burden too heavy for human na- 
ture. Men break down under it, or break over into 
folly and sin. The Master himself taught us this 
vital truth when he said: "First make the tree 
good." This is that process of supreme impor- 
tance that takes place when God gains full posses- 
sion of the soul that gives itself fully to him. The 
true believer knows what this is. Every soul to 
whom this gospel of Christ is preached may know. 
The witness of the Spirit to his own work satisfies. 
Satisfies! That is a mighty word, and it describes 
a mighty work of God in the soul. The certainty 
of attainment is measured by the greatness of the 


310 Upper Room Meditations. 

Certainty! — that is what we want. And it is 
what is promised and given. This is a present 
tense salvation, a present tense that stretches on 
and on world without end. Read the words in the 
light of this statement: "The fruit of the Spirit is 
love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good- 
ness, faith, meekness, temperance." All that re- 
lates to subjective experience and all that relates 
to outward conduct is in the present tense. 

Now is the day of this salvation. And to some 
who will read this Meditation it is nearer than they 
have believed. The fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, 
peace" — love first of all and inclusive of all. Claim 
it by faith, and get it. Hold on to it by faith, and 
keep it. Witness to it with joy, and spread it. 


"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him 
that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. 
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." 
(Rev. xxii. 17.) 

The Keynote: "Come, Lord Jesus." 

Whole libraries have been written in exposition 
of this last chapter of the last book of the Bible. 
It is full of mystery. It has a strange fascination. 
It has thrilled the hearts of multitudes to whom it 
was not given to know the times and the seasons, 
but whose souls responded joyfully to the promise 
of the coming of our Lord. "Behold, I come 
quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every 
man according as his work shall be." The chro- 
nology of this promise has been the puzzle of the 
ages; the blessedness of it has been felt by every 
generation from the date of its utterance down to 
this day. It is certain that the early Church ex- 
pected its fulfillment in a sense more literal and 
more immediate than was justified by the event. 
That they were disappointed and bewildered is cer- 
tain. The scoffers asked in the lifetime of the 
apostle Peter, "Where is the promise of his com- 
ing?" consoling themselves with the declaration 
that since the fathers fell asleep, all things had con- 
tinued as they were from the beginning of the crea- 
tion. The apostle's reply to their taunt does not 
satisfy their curiosity or ours, but it does what is 


314 Upper Room Meditations. 

far better. He vindicates the veracity of the Lord, 
magnifies his long-suffering, and takes occasion to 
exhort all concerned to be steadfast in their faith, 
and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Read the third 
chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter in connec- 
tion with this last chapter of Revelation. It will 
be made plain to you that the second coming of 
Christ is a certainty; that the time is uncertain; 
that the attitude of believers in every generation 
should be that of expectancy; and that his coming, 
when it does take place, will be sudden and surpris- 
ing to the many, despite the warnings in mercy 
given. This exultant response has in it the spring 
of an undying hope, the energy of an unfailing 
power. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. 
And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him 
that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him 
take the water of life freely." All the resources 
of the gospel of Christ are reckoned up, and all its 
agencies are summoned for the service which will 
reward each faithful worker with salvation and 
bring in God's own good time the full and final 
triumph of that gospel in all the world. 

The Spirit and the bride say: "Come." That is 
the keynote. The Holy Spirit and the Church 

"Come, Lord Jesus. " 315 

are inseparable. Without the Holy Spirit the 
Church is not a living organism, but a dead body. 
The Spirit and the bride speak with one voice. 
The dead Church is dumb. The living Church 
voices to the world the invitation of the Lord Je- 
sus to come unto him and be saved. The Holy 
Spirit calls by the word of God, by awakening the 
consciences of men, and by all the means of grace. 
The Church calls through all her members, ordi- 
nances, and agencies. It is a blessed truth: In a 
living Church where there is living faith in the liv- 
ing Christ, every soul in vital connection with it, 
and everything included in its ordinances and 
agencies, becomes a channel for the grace of God. 

The hearer of the invitation, listening to the 
voice of the Church, and moved by the Holy Spirit, 
accepts the call, and is glad. Feeling the blessed- 
ness of the new life of the Lord in his soul, he re- 
peats the invitation to others. This is an infallible 
test of the genuineness of discipleship : every re- 
cipient of this salvation wishes to be also a dispen- 
ser of it. Every true convert echoes the invita- 
tion of the militant Church and her indwelling 
Spirit: "Come." 

The invitation is as wide in its scope as the needs 
and yearnings of humanity. "If any man thirst, 

316 Upper Room Meditations. 

let him come unto me and drink," said Jesus while 
he was yet in the flesh. Let him that is athirst 
come. The way is open for whosoever will. Faith 
is the choice of the will. The water of life flows 
freely, abundantly for all who choose. This bless- 
ing of all blessings is without money and without 
price. God is no respecter of persons. He re- 
spects only character, reading the thoughts and in- 
tents of the heart. All the fitness he requires is 
to feel the need of Himself. 

The happy consummation is hastening on. 
"Surely I come quickly," says our Lord. "Even 
so, come, Lord Jesus," our hearts reply. It is the 
keynote of the song which will be sung by the 
saints as they march. They know not the day nor 
the hour of his coming, but they are ready to meet 
him at his appearing. Pass on the glad word: 

Come, Lord Jesus." 
Just before his death Robert Hall exclaimed: 

O, the sufferings of this body!" His wife then 
asking him, "But you are comfortable in your 
mind?" he answered, "Very comfortable," adding, 
"Come, Lord Jesus, come." He then hesitated, 
as if unable to utter the next word, and one of his 
daughters added, "quickly;" whereupon he gave 
her a look expressive of the utmost delight. 




The golden thread running through the toregoing 
chapters is the truth that all of God's dealings with 
the souls of men is in accordance with law, one touch 
of his grace tuning the soul for another. The dis- 
cerning reader will see that this thread becomes very 
thin at some points, but the writer trusts that it is 
never wholly lost. The sum of what he intended to 
say may be expressed in the words of St. Paul: 
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trem- 
bling: for it is God which worketh in you both to 
will and to do of his good pleasure." That is to say, 
receptivity measures impartation: they that ask re- 
ceive; the hungry are fed; earnestness of endeavor 
measures achievement; they that exercise themselves 
unto godliness shall attain. Summarily, cooperative 
effort invites and secures the help of God in every 
true Christian life. We are workers together with 
him. However weak our efforts may be, his help is 
almighty; the two put together have never failed. 
Sincerity, therefore, is the only condition of success 
in the Christian life. Here end these Meditations.